For a long time, "gaming" usually meant either gambling or indulging in a first-person shooter video game. Only the nerdy few daring enough to try role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons thought differently.
Now the dynamic is changing, creating one of the market's more interesting investment opportunities. Consider Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), which is enjoying a huge audience for its YouTube custom channels thanks to niche programming such as TableTop, a bi-weekly show about board and role-playing games hosted by Wil Wheaton. Overall sales of hobby store games rose 15% last year after a 20% rise the year prior, according to data from ICv2.
The shift comes as social video gaming is becoming more popular, says Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova in the following video. More than 15 million play the popular 8-bit adventure game Minecraft. Yet no company stands to profit so much from the trend as Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), which serves some 34 million monthly users in its signature social game FarmVille 2.
CEO Mark Pincus will have to commission new titles to appeal to the tabletop crowd. Activision Blizzard still rules online group adventure gaming via World of Warcraft, after all. But imagine if he does. Zynga benefits from the reach of Facebook's global platform -- a huge advantage that, if leveraged correctly, could play very well for the beleaguered gamer, Tim says.
Do you agree? Please watch to get Tim's full take, and then let us know whether you believe Zynga is one of the market's top investment opportunities now and why.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
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