Speaking at the 2011 D.I.C.E. Summit this morning in Las Vegas, NPD analyst Anita Frazier said new technology is driving growth in the game market. But she argued that technology for its own sake is not enough to excite consumers.
"While technology is cool and really enabling of a lot of new experiences, it's really about the consumer and what they can do with it," she said in the Gamasutra-attended lecture.
Frazier gave the example of a Super Bowl ad where a father uses a remote car starter to surprise a child pretending to be Darth Vader as an example of "technology enabling a magical experience."
Changes in technology outside of games have changed the expectations of consumers in the gaming space as well, Frazier said.
New technologies like YouTube, Skype, and Netflix streaming are creating "the expectation for instant gratification ... for convenience, productivity, and value as well."
While the rise of social gaming has many in the industry worried about a negative impact on more traditional games, Frazier said NPD data shows growth in time spent playing social games hasn't led to a decrease in time spent playing other games.
That said, traditional console gamers are much more likely than the population in general to play social games, with two-thirds of all social gamers also playing games on consoles.
Looking to the future, Frazier saw ad-supported games being increasingly important in 2011 as "companies are beginning to realize the power of aligning themselves with strong video game brands."
She also sees the improved economy increasing the size of the overall game market in 2011, with increasing user bases for smartphone platforms and broadband expanding the market for mobile and downloadable games particularly.