The global industry report provides insight into ways in which traditional online gaming and real-money gaming, converge in the race for lucrative social casino. Distributed through social networks and played on mobile platforms, online Casino Games feature gambling elements, without actual real-money payout.
Due to the ability to cash-out and due to the need to mitigate risk, online gambling is restricted by regulations, which differ per country, and in some cases, laws may even differ per jurisdiction. On the other hand, Social Casino operators are neither subject to tight regulations nor to age restrictions, implemented to protect minors from gambling. Social casino players buy for virtual goods, or pay to enhance their user experience, just like in traditional online gaming, but in social casino games winning real money just isn’t an option. In addition, the Free to Play (F2P) business model enables Social Casino Operators obtain revenue through banners shown during the game, or when players click on advertisers.
With an estimated 173 million gamers worldwide, online social casino gaming revenue is expected to grow to $2.5 billion across all platforms in 2015. This report will highlight major acquisitions and provide insight in operational and cultural differences between the sectors. While e-gaming companies are quite hierarchical due to their corporate structure, social casino operators are agile and easily adapt to changing user needs. Social CTOs are often founders or Board members. The ways in which data analytics is used differs considerably; whereas online gambling primarily focusses on return of investment and revenue, social casino businesses invest in the most sophisticated analytical tools, in order to understand and predict gamers’ behavior, in order to improve the user experience, the uniqueness of the game, but also to improve the profitability of (click-on) advertising.
Thus, we see how these sectors are subject to great changes, driven by consumer needs. As more consumer use their smartphones to surf the web, online games – previous played on consoles – are increasingly being played on mobile phones and tablets and as social gaming is trending, we see online gambling operators move into the social casino sector, which allows them to enter markets which were previously inaccessible due to tight anti-gambling regulations. These changes resulted in social casino games, becoming the most lucrative social gaming sector in the global online gaming industry, as social games combine “the best of both worlds.”