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Beyond the Screen: Latitude Study Profiles the New Gamers

August 24, 2011

A new study just released by the research consultancy Latitude offers an investigation into the new gaming landscape and the profile of tomorrowâs gamer, suggesting opportunities for both game developers and companies across industries. A complete study summary (PDF) is available for download at http://www.latd.com/2011/08/23/the-future-of-gaming-a-portrait-of-the-new-gamers/.

Boston, MA (PRWEB) August 24, 2011

Over the past few years, the popularity of mobile phones and tablets have contributed to an explosion in gaming by offering users the newfound ability to game anytime and anywhere. A study just released by the research consultancy, Latitude, offers a deeper-dive investigation into the new gaming landscape and the profile of tomorrowâs gamer, suggesting opportunities for both game developers and companies across industries. A complete study summary (PDF) is available for download at http://bit.ly/gamingstudy.

The study included a Web survey of 290 smartphone owners between the ages of 15-54 who self-identified as âœcasual gamers,â with nearly half labeling themselves âœgame enthusiasts.â More than two-thirds said they expect to be gaming even more over the next few years.

Who are the New Gamers?

The study found that the stereotype of the reclusive gamer is outdated; this emerging demographic is social, heavily engaged with the âœofflineâ world, and extremely goal-oriented â“ with a strong drive to improve themselves and the world around them. The new gamers are not constrained to any single platform, and have many different motivations for gaming in addition to just having fun [See â˜New Gamers â“ Infographicâ]. Moreover, they expect that online games will continue to move out of the traditional screen environment, blending seamlessly with the âœofflineâ world in new and engaging ways that go beyond just âœchecking inâ with apps like Foursquare and SCVNGR.

âœThis study is part of our larger People Connected initiative, a series designed to offer a snapshot of intentionally small groups who are currently redefining whatâs possible through the Web,â says Neela Sakaria, Senior Vice President of Latitude. âœWe go beyond just identifying changes in technology, delving deeply into technologyâs potential impact on us as people â“ how we think, relate to each other, and approach our daily lives. Profiling dynamic user groups like â˜the new gamersâ gives us a window into how companies can not only develop meaningful tech experiences today but, more excitingly, grasp opportunities that are just on the horizon.â

The study pinpointed three key insights summarizing what the new gamers are expecting for the future:

1. Games Go Beyond the Screen

Eager to get beyond their smartphone screens, gamers are actively seeking new levels of interactivity, more intuitive interfaces (e.g., gestural or telepathic controls), and personalization of the physical world that mirrors whatâs possible online. Future games should register and respond to people as they exist in the offline world, which may mean using a playerâs location, mood or stress level as metrics in a game, or allowing players to overlay virtual environments or information onto their actual surroundings, as with augmented reality [See â˜New Gamers â“ Chart 5].

Study participants expressed an overwhelming desire for immersive integration of digital content with traditionally offline spaces and activities:

  •     95 percent would like to see more games that do a better job of combining digital content with the real, physical world.
  •     90 percent agreed that current and future technologies will play a critical role in extending games beyond the traditional screen environment, moving them out into the real world.

âœThe gamers of tomorrow wonât be limited by platform or location. As technology becomes more seamlessly integrated with our lives, everyone will be a gamer, and the world around us will become the ultimate playing field,â explains Natalie Stehfest, a senior research analyst who led the study and who heads up Latitudeâs qualitative research team. âœTechnology will allow us to measure â“ and, ultimately, improve â“ ourselves in the context of our daily activities and surroundings. Many people making small changes can have a large impact in society, and this study suggests that the new gamers are ready to â˜level-up,â and be challenged in this way.â

2. Life Becomes Play

Not only did participants want games to be well-integrated with the offline world in a technological sense, they requested games that better fit into the context of everyday life activities, and could provide added incentive to do things they want or need to do anyways. Currently, a variety of âœlife gamesâ exist for personal wellness, learning, and even for completing household chores.

  •     92 percent would like to use more âœlife gamesâ (e.g., games that fit into the context of things they do anyways in life)
  •     More than two-thirds would like games to help them achieve their personal goals, such as being healthier or more productive.

3. Social Matures into Societal

The social aspect of gaming makes it particularly well suited to tackling larger societal issues, as people can now share meaningful experiences easily in real-time. Obstacles related to engagement, crowdsourcing, and logistics are removed as mobile platforms make it easier to become an engaged community member or to get involved with socially good causes in a way that feels game-like, either overtly or in a broader, âœsocial adventureâ sense.

  •     96 percent would like to see more games geared toward creating positive change in society over the next 5-10 years. (Only one-quarter have played games like this before.)
  •     3 in 4 people would be more interested in getting to know their neighbors and the people in their communities if local meet-ups were designed to be more game-like (e.g., involving neighborhood âœteams,â scavenger hunts, etc.).

A Video Portrait of the New Gamers

In conjunction with The Future of Gaming survey, Latitude conducted a series of expert interviews with both game makers and game enthusiasts, culminating in the production of a mini-documentary, The Future of Gaming: a Portrait of the New Gamers, produced in collaboration with In the Car Media. This thought-provoking snapshot of the new gaming landscape serves up fresh, insider perspectives on how games have evolved, and who exactly is playing today â“ or will be tomorrow. The full video, featuring Buster Benson, CEO of Health Month, is available in HD at http://vimeo.com/28065109

âœOur interviews are meant to bring to life what we found in the study: that the new gamers are connected â“ often outgoing â“ people who live and play in the ‘real world,’ and who have a serious interest in bettering themselves and society as a whole,â says Dan Hemmerly-Brown, the video’s director and an Innovation Engineer at Latitude. âœThese conversations have even inspired Latitude to consider possibilities for building game elements into our own research techniques and technologies.â

The Future of Gaming Study Findings and Video Now Available

The complete PDF study summary is available for download at http://bit.ly/gamingstudy. A video portrait of the new gamers can be viewed in HD at http://vimeo.com/28065109

To subscribe to news about Latitudeâs ongoing innovation studies, sign up for Latitudeâs newsletter here: http://latd.com/about-latitude/#maillist.

For more news updates and research findings, follow Latitude on Twitter @latddotcom and become a Facebook fan at http://facebook.com/latituderesearch.

About Latitudeâs The Future of Gaming: a Portrait of the New Gamers Study

The multi-phase The Future of Gaming: a Portrait of the New Gamers study was designed by Latitude to investigate the evolution of gaming, to profile tomorrowâs gamers, and to showcase resulting opportunities across industries for the future of gaming.

About Latitude

Latitude is an international research consultancy helping clients create engaging content, software and technology that harness the possibilities of the Web.

To learn more about working with Latitude, fill out this brief form (http://www.latd.com/about-latitude/#request) or contact Ian Schulte, Director of Technology & Business Development at ischulte(at)latd(dot)com.

For general inquiries, contact: life-connected(at)latd(dot)com.

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Source: prweb



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