This explains the recent moves by hi5, Bebo, My Space and now Tagged, as they attempt to hold on to their audience.But it’s not just about the audience for them: it’s about revenue.
Can these moves help these social networks turn into social gaming networks and compete against the plethora of social games available on Facebook?The shift in focus by social networks can likely be attributed to the success of Facebook itself and specifically, gaming on Facebook.Anecdotally, every friend I’d ask about the two networks would have a million reasons to connect to Facebook: the real identities, the cleaner interface and the applications. People loved Facebook even when it was in its infancy, but these days its an indispensable tool and gamers have great options.The Zynga and Playfish portfolios are incredible, and EA is planning to bring its biggest brands to the network. For instance, looking at Tagged’s recent integration with our World, we must note that our is not associated with Tagged.com, and the games will still be able to be played at sites like Miniclip.com, for example.One of the earliest criticisms against social networks and applications was that they didn’t make any money as pundits, again showing that famous lack of imagination, couldn’t see how users would end up paying for anything on the networks.
Rupert Murdoch went so far as to call Facebook a “directory”, something like a phone book.Games like Farmville have not only generated a lot of revenue and brought new players to the Facebook social network, but they are also taking from the social networking and gaming traffic of other sites, as users spend more and more time on Facebook.This is forcing other networks to focus on retaining and engaging their users, and they are doing that by attempting to ensure that they are providing their key demographics with the entertainment they seek.Take a look at the Bebo chart, or hi5’s long term chart.So what can these networks do to stop the downward decline?Social media has become an integral part of modern society.