Whether you’re paying attention to it or not, gaming has become a key pillar of modern online culture, with gaming creators now more influential than ever, after two years of lockdowns which forced youngsters to find alternative means of social connection and entertainment.
Ask anybody under the age of 15 who their favorite celebrity is and they’ll likely point to a gaming-related star, and that influence has a significant impact on broader interests, trends, consumer behaviors and more, which is important for all brands to take note of in the modern marketing shift.
Underlining this, today, Twitter has published its latest overview of gaming-related discussion via tweet, which adds more scope to that influence and relevance, particularly among younger audiences.
As per Twitter:
“In the first half of 2022, there were approximately 1.5 billion Tweets about gaming – a record half following up on a record year for gaming conversation in 2021. The 36% increase in Tweets about gaming year-over-year was driven by big-time conversations around game releases like Elden Ring, esports leagues like Call of Duty League, VALORANT Champions Tour and Professional Gamers League Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and global gaming events like Xbox Showcase, Playstation’s State of Play and Summer Game Fest.”
As Twitter notes, that puts it on track to break last year’s record for gaming tweets, with 2.4 billion for the full year. For further context as to the overall growth of the Twitter gaming discussion, back in 2019, Twitter saw 1.2 billion gaming-related tweets for the entire year.
In terms of specific trends, Twitter has shared insights into some of the key focus elements, including the top countries tweeting about gaming topics.
As you can see, Japan leads the way, with the US and Korea coming in second and third respectively.
Note, too, the rise of India here. If Twitter can gain more traction in the Indian market, that could provide significant growth opportunities for the app – though it is also locked in ongoing disputes with the Indian Government over censorship concerns.
In terms of games, Genshin Impact was the most discussed game via tweet, followed by Wordle on overall mentions.
Though as we’ve noted previously, it doesn’t really feel right to include Wordle in the ‘gaming’ category. I mean, it is a game, I guess, but I don’t think that most of the people that are playing Wordle would classify themselves as ‘gamers’ as such.
If you were a marketer looking to target your ads about a new video game, would you want to reach Wordle players? My 70 year-old Dad posts his Wordle score to Facebook every day, yet he’s not going to be interested in targeted ads about the latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise.
That’s an exaggeration in terms of how such targeting might work, but the point is that Wordle probably doesn’t fit here, and its inclusion is likely juicing Twitter’s overall gaming engagement data a little bit.
Twitter has also shared data on the most popular gaming creators in the app, with Dream, Sapnap and Rubiu5 all making the list.
Again, the influence of gaming creators cannot be overstated, as they are driving huge trends online, expanding far beyond their streams on YouTube or Twitch. That’s why YouTube is now looking to sign the top streamers to exclusive deals, as a means to win more viewers across to its app, with the battle for top talent set to become a key battleground in the next push for platform dominance.
Twitter’s also shared data on the most discussed eSports teams:
While this time around, it’s also listed the top Spaces and gaming communities in the app.
Though I’m still not buying the value of Twitter communities, or their ongoing role in facilitating engagement in the app. Combined, these top listed gaming groups have less than 30k members, which equates to 0.01% of Twitter’s total active user base.
Overall, however, the numbers underline the ongoing popularity of gaming creators, and gaming culture more broadly, which, again, has become a key trend driver in many respects.
And as we move towards the metaverse future, which will be significantly influenced by gaming trends, it seems likely that this will become an even more important element – which is why all marketers should be paying attention to gaming trends.
You can read more about Twitter’s H1 2022 gaming trends here.
Fresh fears after Facebook’s role in US abortion case
Facebook’s role in an abortion prosecution has raised fresh worries from advocates – Copyright AFP/File Javed TANVEER
Facebook sparked outrage by complying with US police probing an abortion case, boosting simmering fears the platform will be a tool for clamping down on the procedure.
Criticism built after media reports revealed the social networking giant had turned over messages key to a mother being criminally charged with an abortion for her daughter.
Advocates had warned of exactly this kind of thing after America’s top court revoked the national right to abortion in late June, as big tech companies hold a trove of data on users locations and behavior.
Jessica Burgess, 41, was accused of helping her 17-year-old daughter to terminate a pregnancy in the midwestern US state of Nebraska.
She faces five charges — including one under a 2010 law which only allows abortion up to 20 weeks after fertilization.
The daughter faces three charges, including one of concealing or abandoning a corpse.
Yet Facebook owner Meta defended itself Tuesday by noting the Nebraska court order “didn’t mention abortion at all”, and came before the Supreme Court’s highly divisive decision in June to overturn Roe v Wade, the case which conferred right to abortion in the United States.
“That sentence would seem to imply that *if* the search warrants mentioned abortion, there would be a different result. But of course that’s not true,” tweeted Logan Koepke, who researches on how technology impacts issues like criminal justice.
When queried about handing over the data, the Silicon Valley giant pointed AFP to its policy of complying with government requests when “the law requires us to do so.”
Nebraska’s restrictions were adopted years before Roe was overturned. Some 16 states have outright bans or limits in the early weeks of pregnancy in their jurisdictions.
– ‘Can’t release encrypted chats’ –
For tech world watchers, the Nebraska case surely won’t be the last.
“This is going to keep happening to companies that have vast amounts of data about people across the country and around the world,” said Alexandra Givens, CEO of the non-profit Center for Democracy & Technology.
She went on to note that if companies receive a duly-issued legal request, under a valid law, there are strong incentives for them to want to comply with that request.
“The companies at a minimum have to make sure that they’re insisting on a full legal process, that warrants are specific and not a fishing expedition, searches are very narrowly construed and that they notify users so that users can try to push back,” Givens added.
Meta did not provide AFP the Nebraska court’s order. The police filing asked the judge to order the company not to tell Burgess’s daughter about the search warrant for her Facebook messages.
“I have reason to believe that notifying the subscriber or customer of the issuance of this search warrant may result in the destruction of or tampering with evidence,” police detective Ben McBride wrote.
He told the court he began investigating “concerns” in late April that Burgess’s daughter had given birth prematurely to a “stillborn child”, which they allegedly buried together.
Advocates noted that apart from not using Meta’s products, one sure way to keep users’ communications out of government hands would be for them to be automatically encrypted.
Meta-owned WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption, which means the company does not have access to the information, but that level of privacy protection is not the default setting on Facebook messenger.
“The company has never said it would not comply with a request from law enforcement in a situation related to abortions,” said Caitlin Seeley George, a campaign director at advocacy group Fight for the Future.
“If users could rely on encrypted messaging, Meta wouldn’t even be in a position where they could share conversations,” she added.
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