Numbers in social games decline… or do they just go to mobile?

Continuing a three-month decline in absolute player numbers, social games shrank 6% from November to December.But not everyone is feeling the pinch – as some BIG names increased in numbers (i.e. Candy Crush Saga gained players and others as well…)

Despite receiving industry-wide coverage in recent months, RPG and casino led the social game genres decline with significant losses of 10% and 8%, respectively. Social gamers have started to move to arcade and action games, which showed an increase in overall monthly actives for the third consecutive month, totaling 37.6% of the total audience today.

 Perhaps the most important development for social games is the general transition to mobile. Facebook margins have declined due to the increasing cost of user acquisition. And so successful titles like Candy Crush Saga by King.com are looking to mobile as part of a cross-platform strategy. This allows a title to both keep its existing audience base engaged, and expand its overall addressable market.

For child-friendly games, the move to mobile is clear: without Facebook’s age restrictions, the platform offers a way to capture a new demographic.

In the past six months most of the social game publishers have developed a mobile strategy to compensate for a saturated web market. In our January research we found that social casino gamers are four times more likely to play on Facebook than on mobile. However, the share of mobile has been growing. With 17.4MM tablets and smartphones activated on Christmas Day alone, the shift toward mobile is likely to increase, and big players are moving to gain ground in this new arena.

Case in point: Slotomania, a Facebook mainstay with 6.15MM MAU, arrived early on the scene, launching iOS and Android apps in November of 2011. Through 2012, it held itself in the top 10 grossing games on iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Inevitably, as social games look to compensate for a saturated Facebook market, they may very well create an equally crowded market with diminishing margins. Likely winners to emerge are those who formulate a strong cross-platform strategy and seek to leverage both space’s strengths. To do this well, having an understanding of the entire eco-system is key. Not really surprising but a fair point is that perhaps today you must think of both even before you start as super publisher King.com found.

I watched Riccardo Zacconi the other week at an event in London and he said some very wise things about it all. Mainly around numbers as now 80 million people now play one of their titles every month but it took them 10 years to make king.com

And they started off non social and non mobile and quickly realized the power of both.

The above report came from SuperData which actively covers the social, mobile and casino games market, and offers monthly reports and industry benchmarks.

 

 

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