According to research, the social gaming market increased by more than 18 percent during the first quarter of 2018, thanks in part to smartphone users.
This year seems bright for gaming operators as the social gaming market posted double-digit revenue during the first three months of the year.
According to research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, social gaming revenue grew by more than 18 percent or US$1.27 billion during the first quarter of 2018. Over the past 12 months, the market revenue grew by almost 20 percent, equating to US$4.17 billion.
Social games are free-to-play casino games—slots, bingo, poker, table games—accessible through tablet PCs and smartphones via a fiat or Bitcoin mobile casino app. Gamers pay real currency in exchange for in-game currency to either increase their funds or purchase additional spins. These purchases make a large part of the revenues of gaming companies.
Top Performing Operators
Playtika—operator of famous titles like Slotomania, WSOP, and CZR Casino—continues to dominate the social gaming sphere by having a market share of more than a quarter of the total market. The gaming operator posted revenue of US$348 million for the first quarter and more than US$1.26 billion in revenue for the last 12 months.
Aristocrat Technologies, subsidiary of Australian gambling machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure, ranked second as it covers 12 percent of the total market share. The social gaming operator ended the first quarter with US$155.7 million in revenue and posted US$568.6 million in revenue for the last 12 months.
SciGames Interactive, Scientific Games’ operating division for digital gaming, remains relevant with a 7.7 percent total market share. The operator, who just announced the upcoming release of a new Monopoly Slots-themed casino app, earned total revenue of US$97.4 million in the first quarter.
Principal of Eliers & Krejcik Adam Krejcik noted that Playstudios, operator of video game myVEGAS Slots, was a key standout performer during the first three months.
Social Gaming Expands to Mobile Through Facebook
Eiler & Krejcik credited the social gaming market’s revenue rise to an increasing number of users playing social games on their smartphones.
It is a logical move for social gaming operators to capture the mobile market as more and more purchase smartphones for their everyday needs. Smartphones are almost a necessity in the modern world with more than 77 percent of American adults in the US own smartphones, based on a Pew Research survey conducted in 2016.
An easy way to penetrate the mobile gaming market is through social networking sites. In late 2015, data from the US Cross-Platform Future in Focus showed that nearly 80 percent of their users’ time spent on social media networks are though handheld devices like smartphones and tablet PCs.
Some gaming operators have already entered the social network realm. Most notable of them is gaming company Zynga, which from 2014 has offered online gambling applications including Texas hold’em games and other poker variants.
Due to its being more accessible and free-to-play, social games on social networking sites continue to reach out more people as there are around 290 million active players on Facebook alone.
Gambling operators can use Facebook’s expanding reach—especially to the mobile application users— to introduce virtual slots and roulettes to a wider audience and hope to turn them into casual players and into aggressive bettors.