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Introduction to the Games, Apps and Social Media Industry, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

In the history of the world of business, very few industries have enjoyed the stellar growth that we have seen in electronic media and entertainment over the past few decades.  This spectacular growth has included electronic games, mobile apps and social media, but the meteoric growth in these three fields has been possible only because of underlying technology trends such as smartphone.
There is every reason for continued optimism regarding future growth of games, apps and social media due to three basic factors:  1) booming growth in the number of people around the world who use the internet on a regular basis, whether by fixed means, wireless devices or both; 2) continuing improvements in the speed and reliability of internet access; and 3) the continuing and dramatic evolution of electronic platforms, particularly smartphones, game consoles and virtual reality (VR).  Eventually, virtual reality may take games and entertainment to an entirely new level.
a.    First, there was sometimes-on (think dial-up and internet service providers like the original AOL.com).
b.    Then we progressed to always-on, thanks to the rapid adoption of fixed broadband, whether via DSL or cable, along with ever higher internet access speeds.
c.    More recently, we evolved to always-with-you, thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, particularly smartphones.
d.    The current leap forward in computing is always-around-you, where, to a rapidly growing degree, the advent of pervasive computing devices and remote wireless sensors connect us to, and collect data from, an astonishing array of objects, ranging from automobiles to appliances and air conditioning systems, to monitors that record our individual health statistics.  The Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G wireless networks are big enablers of this trend.
e.    The future will include wearable computing devices and embedded computing that enables rooms to recognize you when you enter and automatically configure nearby devices to your personal preferences. 
f.     The future will also include devices that know which types of entertainment, games or social media we habitually use at certain times of day, and therefore push those services to you seamlessly and automatically.  Amazon’s Echo and similar personal digital assistants (“smart speakers”) are the recent embodiment of this trend.
Three extremely important sectors of this evolving personal communications and media world include electronic games, apps and social media (GASM), and the lines between these three sectors frequently blur.  For example, multiplayer online games encourage communication between communities of players, while social media like Facebook are often the platforms that support the most popular games.  Meanwhile, apps are rapidly becoming the tool of choice for launching a wide variety of communications tools, entertainment and internet sites, including games.  Users seamlessly let their online access flow from one segment of GASM to the other, and often use all three at once.
The security of user data and customer privacy remain significant concerns in the GASM business, particularly after Sony suffered a major hacking of millions of its Sony Online Entertainment network accounts in early 2011.  Elsewhere, customer privacy issues have been major points of concern at Facebook and other social media services.  Customers want to play games online and they want to interact on social networks, but they also want to control and protect their own personal data, and they certainly want to feel their credit card information is secure.
The latest generation of personal computers and operating systems have evolved to be very app-oriented, with the intent to make the PC experience more like the smartphone experience.  Another powerful trend is growing consumer interest in watching electronic game playing as a spectator sport (“esports”), where extremely talented amateurs, and sometimes professionals, compete either in live auditoriums with audiences, or on platforms like Twitch for online viewers.
 


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