Casual and online gaming are two sectors that have grown exponentially over the past couple of years. As a consequence, video games have gone from being niche to mainstream very quickly. And Google may be about to use YouTube to latch onto the trend.
From Geeks To The Mainstream
When I was growing up, video games and gaming were the domain of the geeky. And I was one of the nerds involved. But it’s an activity that has changed massively in recent times.
The release of the PS2 and then the Wii brought gaming into the mainstream in a big way, with new people of all ages casually dipping their toes into the water.
Casual Web Gaming
And the Web has sped the process up, with online gaming becoming a huge business. There are free MMOs which make money from advertising and micro-transactions, and games such as Farmville and Mafia Wars which are clogging up Facebook in a big way.
YouTube Video Gaming
As unearthed by BNET, Google filed a patent called ‘Web-Based System for Generation of Interactive Games Based on Digital Videos’ in February 2009. Details of the patent application were only recently revealed.
The patent concerns:
“The collaborative generation of interactive features for digital videos, and in particular to interactive video annotations enabling control of video playback locations and creation of interactive games.”
Which doesn’t sound like much, but which could be the beginnings of a whole new strand of online video: interactive gaming. By using text box annotations which pause a video and offer a link to other videos or parts of the site, YouTube could be the home of video gaming in the truest sense of the term.
This has already been done in a very simple sense, with this Easter Egg Hunt video a good example of the genre as it is. But Google probably has more complicated and involved uses in mind.
Why would Google want to get into interactive gaming? Because it’s a hugely popular part of the Web which opens up the possibility for interactive advertising opportunities. Viral video marketing is now as common as muck, but this could be the next evolution of it.