More than 200 million people worldwide play casual games via the Internet and “they are changing the games industry: So far only ca. 10%-20% of the population regularly play digital games (called “gamers”). Social games are for the other 80%” claims Jens Negemann CEO of Wooga (4).
The Casual Games Association came out with its 2012 Casual Games Sector Report earlier this month. With an estimated US audience of 77.9 million casual gamers, clearly casual and social gaming is a trend that is not going away.
So what is a social game?
Think: Casino games such as the multiplayer casino game Texas HoldEm poker. Think: Garden of Time, Sims, Cityville. These are the sorts of games that are on a rampant rise. Easily accessible from mobile platforms and within browsers, easy to turn on or off on a impulse, and basically great time wasters, casual games provide a simple, technologically uncomplicated and widely accessible way for youth and adults alike to game.
So, with those almost 80 million people in the US alone to be using social gaming this year, who are the major players in the casual game world, what are people spending, and how much does this industry stand to gain?
Almost all social network games are built on a “freemium” model - the game is offered for free while charging a premium for more advanced features, functionality or related products or services.
· Average console game player (i.e. PS3, XBox 360) is a 37 year old male, the average social network game player is a 40 year old female (US stats).
· Emerging markets are a key component of revenue growth in the global social networks games market. Brazil and Russia are prime examples of current emerging markets for social network gaming. Use the following attributes to evaluate if a market is ready for social network games:
· High speed internet and smartphone penetration
· Attractive social network audience
· Existing payment systems for processing online purchases
Who are the Whales?
· Social network games rely heavily on their big spenders, or ‘whales’. Whales spend more than $25 per month, on average. While whales represent less than 15% of a game’s paying users, they account more than 50% of a typical game’s revenue.
· Most payers spend only $1 - $5 a month
· The top ten content providers reach more than half of the total gaming audience on Facebook, Zynga leading the pack with over 46 million daily active users (DAU) seriously losing market share from previous years. Electronic Arts (EA) comes in 2nd place with just over 12 million users, 3rd Wooga with 7 million DAU.
· Estimated worldwide revenues in social network games for 2012 is $6.20 billion (yes, billion). For 2014? $8.64 billion.
According to application traffic tracking site AppData.com’s leaderboard the Facebook games with the most active users for December are: CityVille, CastleVille, FarmVille, Texas HoldEm Poker and The Sims Social.
Facebook’s rating was based on games that had the most active users and received the highest user recommendations in 2011.
Facebook's Most Popular Games in 2011:
1. Gardens of Time (By Playdom)
2. The Sims Social (By EA)
3. Cityville (By Zynga)
4. DoubleDown Casino (by DoubleDown Interactive)
5. Indiana Jones Adventure World (By Zynga)
6. Words With Friends (By Zynga)
7. Bingo Blitz (By Buffalo Studios)
8. Empires & Allies (By Zynga)
9. Slotomania-Slot Machines (By Playtika)
10. Diamond Dash (By wooga)