In 2010 the social gaming industry is expected by most pundits, to reach global sales of around $10 billion with almost 70% attributed to Asia. Most of this revenue comes from the sale of virtual goods i.e. 100% replicable pixels with zero variable cost. Basically a beautiful model if you can get the huge distribution required, because only a tiny percent of the total gaming user base ends up spending real hard cash.

Nevertheless those same pundits are now wondering out loud when the mechanics and features inherent in the gaming industry start to find their way into the more mainstream applications and services. Its probably fair to say the corporate world already has its toe in the water. Ad actions are placed inside games giving users the option for choices they might otherwise have had to pay for. Brands have also been finding ways to appear inside games. The best example being branded stores inside Second Life, one of the virtual world pioneer communities.

However the bigger question is whether or not the big GCLUB brands will start to do anything more bold than playing on the peripheral of other peoples’ games? In my opinion there are no shortages of opportunities. Especially now that all the core virtual currency, virtual commerce and payment platforms have been built, albeit, to serve the gaming industry. For example it would not be that hard for say, an insurance company to give its customers a rebate if they checked in to a health club a certain number of times a month. Some health plans already do this but they need to specific deals with the clubs, need the clubs to hand over the data and typically only bother with such plans when they are attached to large corporate deals.

As users get more and more used to the concept of gaming entering their daily online and mobile interactions, there will be more opportunities for the corporate world to start to execute more creative interactions with their customers, offer them virtual rewards and get to know and serve them better.