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In its latest U.S. Gaming Trends report, Adobe highlights the enormous potential of the industry.

The Adobe Digital Index (ADI) analyzed gaming visits, revenue, and social media stats for major game titles in 2015, with some surprising results.

With gaming visits increasing in frequency, up by 8% year-over-year, events such as Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and the chance to pre-order games before their launch are driving social engagement to new heights.

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The two games leading pre-orders in 2015 are Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Fallout 4, with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Halo 5: Guardians, and Rise of the Tomb Raider hot on their heels. But not all social mentions seem to express the anticipation usually linked to the launch of a new game. In fact, according to ADI, 33% of the mentions on social media channels expressed sadness, rather than joy (18%) or even surprise (9%). Of them all, anticipation clocked in at a meager 2%.

Can game developers change the conversation happening on social media to their advantage?

While the effect of sadness at a new game release might not have a big impact on revenue – after all, orders grew by 124% year-over-year – the question is still a valid one.

The answer could be as simple as gamer support.

Social media moderation and player support are by no means new to the picture. Still, the reasons behind such low sentiment are well worth exploring. Do they relate to personal experiences with previous games in a franchise due to insufficient testing, difficulty to replicate bugs, server issues, translation blunders, or lack thereof? How could a gamer’s frown be turned upside down? If done properly, game testing, pre- and post-sales support, and language localization are three simple ways to ensure better game reception.

To answer the question in the title, those who win when games receive social media mentions, happy or sad, are smart developers. The ones who listen to their player communities and leverage in-house or outsourced gaming support resources to improve the overall player experience and their own relationship to their fan base.

When social media engagement is at a premium, game developers would do well not to squander such a golden opportunity.

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