The social gaming market is developing together with social platforms and mobile technologies. It attracts a large number of players around the world and is not legally regulated. Let’s look at social casino markets and the prospects of their development.
What Is Social Gaming?
Social gaming refers to games played on social media platforms. They might be similar to those games available in online casinos, for instance, games of chance using cards or dice. However, social gamers do not get money as a prize, therefore, social gaming does not legally fall under the gambling definition.
Statistics and popular social games providers
In 2017, the global social gaming industry generated $106 billion in general, where just the social casino gaming sphere generated $4.5 billion. Then, only in the first three months of 2018, the social casino gaming market had $1.27 billion in revenue. As for the full-year market revenue, it reached $5.2 billion. In general, the social casino market enlarged by 15 % from 2017.
The most popular and successful social gaming providers are:
- Playtika: represents over a quarter of the social gaming market with a revenue of $348 million. It has over 280 million installs on mobile phones.
- Aristocrat Technologies (Product Madness and Big Fish Games): the second largest social casino provider with a 12.7% market share and revenue of $155.7 million.
- SG Digital: Scientific Games' most popular slots 88 Fortunes, Quick Hit Slots, and Bingo Showdown brought the 18.5% total revenue increase in 2018.
Among the popular providers, there are also DoubleU Games, Zynga Poker, Huuuge Games, and PlayStudios.
Such significant revenues are generated in several ways:
- Free games with In-App-Purchases: these games are free to play and download, however, players should pay for coins used in games and additional credits.
- Freemium Apps: free games that require payments in order to upgrade the app or get access to further levels.
- Paid / Premium: games that are only available after the payment is made.
Markets and popular games
The largest social casino market is considered to be North America, which had $1.983 million in revenues, followed by Asia with revenues of around $1.074 million in 2017. The third largest social casino market is Europe, with revenues of $884 million. South American market has $186 million, while the rest of the world has $120 million. As for the largest share of players, the UK is the most prominent social gaming market, having a 58% share of players. The most popular games include slots, bingo, and poker.
The experts in social gaming predict that there will be two more well-developed revenue models by the end of 2019. Apart from the most popular In-All Purchases and other models, the revenues will be generated by:
- Advertising. It is already a valuable revenue source for social gaming providers, and it is expected to enlarge even more.
- Subscriptions. The subscription model has already worked very well in Asia, so it could become useful in the US and Europe as well.
As for some other predictions for 2019, the experts expect:
- enlargement of the hyper-casual games segment;
- the convergence of gambling and social gaming, where social casinos will adopt more gaming mechanics like sports betting, live dealer games, virtual sports;
- social casino consolidation.
Also, the market will keep growing year by year, and, according to the Eilers & Krejcik Gaming research firm, it will reach revenues of over $6 billion by 2021.
The social gaming market is significantly increasing and will keep doing so due to the popularity of mobile platforms, no legal regulations, and innovative technologies development.