4 Questions with GSN Digital’s Peter Blacklow

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GSN.jpgKristina: What caused the switch from teens playing war-games to moms playing Bejeweled and Farmville?

Peter Blacklow, Executive Vice President, GSN Digital: It’s funny, I think that the MMOG games were the games people talked about more, they were more prevalent, but the reality is that the more casual games have dominated the online space for years. The number three activity online for AOL users was online gaming even 7 years ago. People were playing casual games and were skewed female, 35-55 years of age. With the increased exposure that games have gotten, casual gaming is more mainstream and less under the radar.

Kristina: What is the draw to social gaming?

Peter: I think the casual gaming/social gaming terms get used similarly. I consider strategy, quick play games to be casual, and social gaming is anything on Facebook. The dominate form of social gaming has been Farmville or Mafia Wars forever, and the draw is that there is no end point.

Kristina: What do brands need to do to capture the gaming demographic?

Peter: Building a hit social or mobile game is like capturing lightening in a bottle. More and more advertisers are looking at the larger, Facebook style games as a property to itself and we’re getting calls from advertisers about our Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy games who want to create custom advertising within the existing games. We’re seeing very large numbers of consumers, including the traditional online gamer, moving to Facebook in huge numbers to get their daily dose of gaming.

Kristina: What trends do you see in gaming?

Peter: I’m seeing 2 major trends: 1) Competitions in games. We’re seeing in our application that people like to compete while they’re gaming; they want to earn virtual currency or prizes or be on the leader boards. Even if those ‘prizes’ can’t be traded for real goods. 2) Branded titles. There is no doubt that a year or two ago there was a perspective that traditional brands didn’t work in Facebook. We never bought into that; we believe those big games make great online games and that you can allow players to compete online. The Family Feud app was hugely successful, now there are Wheel of Fortune and Deal or No Deal games. We’re getting comments from players, telling us that they watch Wheel of Fortune on TV and then play online right after.



Kristina Knight-1
Kristina Knight, Journalist , BA
Content Writer & Editor
Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with BizReport.com, NBC News, Soaps.com, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.