Is Mobile the Future of Gaming? Twitter’s Head of Gaming Certainly Thinks so
Rishi Chadha gives Calcalist an inside look into what the social media giant is doing in the field of online games and where he thinks it is heading next
Rishi Chadha runs the conversation on Twitter when it comes to the world of gaming, whether it be by concentrating the global partnerships, advertisers and gaming news, or the discussions of opinion leaders and fans in real-time. Since he joined Twitter in 2017, he launched new content partnerships with developers like Activision Blizzard and Riot Games and also grew the live streaming platform on the social network. He is also focused on Esport and raising awareness of these competitions online. Among Twitter's clients in Israel with whom Rishi works are gaming companies Playstudios, Plarium, and Beach Bum.
In an interview with Calcliast, he tried to answer the question of how to integrate gaming into a platform that in Israel is largely seen as belonging to ’the scene’ and is most of the time consumed by aggressive discourse between politicians and journalists.
"It doesn't matter what game people want to talk about, they will go on Twitter to talk about it," claimed Rishi. "Twitter has a big community of gamers from across the world that is growing with every year. Last year we counted 1.2 billion tweets that were exclusively about gaming."
How has the Twitter discourse on gaming changed since the outbreak of coronavirus?
"The discourse on gaming has certainly experienced a dramatic rise since the outbreak of the virus. We can already say that we have seen an increase of 70% this year due to Covid-19. People who are at home during this time go on to Twitter to share clips of themselves playing, to talk about the games, and to catch up on the latest in gaming news across the world."
Were there specific games that experienced an increase?
"We saw a rise of 47% in discussions on gaming in Israel. Animal Crossing is an example of the most talked about game on Twitter right now, including in Israel. While there are those who go on Twitter for an update on the latest news, we've found that during this complex period there are also those who go on Twitter to escape from the news and talk about lighter topics like gaming. The social network gave gamers a means of communication with each other in a time that people are so isolated."
Nintendo's Animal Crossing was launched at the height of the coronavirus crisis in March 2020. "The crisis brought an increase of 1,000% in the discourse on social media, with the number of those tweeting about Animal Crossing increasing by over 400%. Overall there have been over 38 million tweets around the world about the game since it launched," Rishi explained.
How does Twitter cope with the competition from other social networks like YouTube, Twitch or the recent gamer platform launched by Facebook? Will Twitter also launch a similar platform for streamers?
"While you see these companies as competition, we see them as partners which we can integrate on our platform. People may play games on Twitch or Youtube, but they go on Twitter to talk about them. Unlike YouTube or Twitch, we at Twitter don't see ourselves as a platform for content creators but a place in which to talk about the actual content."
Over recent years we have seen a sharp increase in mobile platforms that are getting stronger and quicker. Nintendo Switch is just one example of the resounding success of this field, when in the peak of the coronavirus crisis it was difficult to find them in stores. Do you predict that this trend will continue?
"In my assessment, mobile will continue to grow and in the future will even overtake the traditional gaming consoles. I believe that mobile games are the future of the gaming world. Mobile gaming has become popular in almost every home in Eastern Europe, North America, and Israel. I also believe that the gaming consoles as we know them will undergo a significant change in the future. Twitter is working to collaborate with these platforms and currently allows you to tweet directly from your Xbox One. We are working every day on additional tools that will help gamers share content on our platform in the future."
VR technology has been with us for quite a few years and nevertheless hasn't grown dramatically in gaming. What are your thoughts on this tech and why isn’t Twitter part of it?
"I can say with certainty that VR isn't just another gimmick. I believe that VR technology will develop into something bigger and closer to AR in the future.
"The VR game Half Life Alyx was released recently and it is very well made and doing very well. A lot of people are talking about it on Twitter. Playstation will soon release an Ironman VR game which many people are looking forward to and I think this is a field that is developing nicely. I'm calling on developers to invest more in VR technology as this tech is here to stay. Twitter is certainly considering the technology and the way in which it can fit in. You may see some surprises in the future."
Finally, what games did you play during the lockdown and which are you most looking forward to?
"I played Animal Crossing, but my favorite is Call of Duty: Warzone. I'm looking forward to Sony's CyberPunk 2077 and The Last of Us Part 2. Right now I'm deliberating which console to buy when the lockdown ends."