May 15, 2016

Is Social Gaming still a growth concern in the UK?

When considering the status and growth potential of social gaming, it is important to first forget everything that you think you know about this segment. After all, there is a tendency to categorise social games as those played purely on sites such as Facebook, where classic titles such as Farmville and Texas Hold 'Em Poker can be accessed for free.

Social gaming is a far more diverse entity, however, and inclusive of numerous games and titles across the board. This includes rummy online for an example as this experiences also include high volumes of social interaction and benefit from the same freemium business model.

With this in mind, so-called reports concerning the demise of social gaming in the UK are a little premature. While titles such as as CityVille and Farmville may no longer be as relevant or as popular as they once were (and subsequently released games have failed to generate as much interest among social media users), this growing chasm has more than been filled by freemium bingo and virtual casino gameplay. In many respects the hugely popular, social iteration of Texas Hold 'Em poker has been extremely influential, building a fan base for online casino games that virtual brands subsequently capitalised on.

Make no mistake; social gaming has managed to thrive and grow significantly on the back of such diversification. There are numerous statistics and trends to support this assertion too, including the following: -

  • 52% of all gamers are now female, thanks primarily to the rise of social gaming titles
  • There are in excess of three million online bingo players active in the UK alone
  • Online and social gaming revenues will peak at $45.8 billion at the end of 2016, nearly doubling since 2009 and expected to rise further over the next two years.

In many ways, it stands to reason that the diversification of the accessible social gaming platform should have encouraged more demographics into the marketplace, with the average gamer now aged over 35, female and college educated. This is far-removed from the stereotypical view of gamers, and social titles have played a pivotal role in challenge this misconception.

In terms of online bingo and similar social titles, the rising number of players and revenues speak for themselves. An audience in excess of three million online bingo players offers a huge resource for developers to tap into, particularly when you consider that this number is set to grow and the fact that the majority of these individuals are return customers. Interestingly, figures from Statista suggest that value of the online gaming market could top $56 billion by the end of 2018 and this underlines the potential for further growth.

So the next time someone suggests that social gaming is moribund, remind them that it is in fact a robust an diverse entity that will continue to thrive for the foreseeable future.