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The Social Gaming Revolution

The Social Gaming Revolution

2009 will be remembered as the year that casual gaming stormed social platforms and changed the way millions of people socialised with friends online.

Federico Cargnelutti

April 30, 2010

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  1. 2009 will be remembered as the year that casual gaming

    stormed social platforms and changed the way millions of people socialized with friends online.
  2. “Casual Gaming is the Arcade business rising from the ashes

    of the 1980s” Nicholas Carlson, Business Insider
  3.   Arcade games were usually played in a social environment.

    Online games are played on Facebook, a virtual social environment.   Arcade games made money by addicting people to simple games, introducing friction into these games by making them harder after each level.   Arcade games charged small amounts of money to ease that friction by allowing gamers to buy lives.
  4. Four major developments are driving the growth of Social Gaming

      The opening up of more social networking platforms for third party developers.   An increase in social games on websites outside of social networking platforms.   Growing interest in mobile social gaming.   Entry of further big players into the social gaming industry. The Rise of Social Gaming
  5. The Rise of Social Gaming   Playfish was recently acquired

    by Electronic Arts (EA) for £260 million.   News Corp. acquired Irata Labs, a developer of social games across Twitter and Facebook.   Playfish generates revenues of £50 million from selling virtual goods on Facebook and other platforms.   Virtual goods are expected to reach revenues of £1 billion in 2010, according to a report by Inside Network.
  6. “Who would have guessed, in an age of rapidly advancing

    technology, that one of the most popular online games would be a game about good old fashioned farming?” Ronny Kerr, Vator News Zynga hits 100 million users with FarmVille
  7.   When a game is built on top of an

    existent platform, eg. Facebook, it has the opportunity to connect a user with their entire network of friends.   Zynga will create a game as quickly as possible, distribute it to its audience, and go and optimize each part of the game based on user feedback.   Social games evolve and grow with user feedback. Zynga hits 100 million users with FarmVille
  8. “ South By Southwest Interactive Developers showed off demos of

    games that had Facebook Connect built in, allowing you to share scores, statistics and even a personalized gaming highlight reel to your Facebook profile, direct from your Xbox 360 or Playstation. The latest generation of games on Apple's iPhone include the same sort of features, designed to let you share your achievements with friends. Social Platforms
  9. “ “Our motivation is simple – we want to provide

    the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.” Social Platforms Steve Jobs, April 2010
  10. Social Games Zynga 237.1 million users Electronic Arts 53.3 million

    users CrowdStar 49.2 million users Playdom 37.1 million users
  11.   FarmVille is the most popular game application on Facebook,

    with over 82.4 million active users.   FishVille had 875,000 users within two days of launch.   World of Warcraft is currently the dominant MMO in the world with 12 million monthly subscribers worldwide.   World of Warcraft has generated over £1.4 billion since 2005. Social Games
  12. Top reasons people play social games: 1.  Fun and excitement

    (53%) 2.  Stress relief (45%) 3.  Competitive spirit (43%) 4.  Sense of accomplishment (23%) Social Games
  13. Appeal of social games beyond social interaction: 1.  Competition 2. 

    Interactive game play 3.  Opportunity to win prizes 4.  Cooperative game play 5.  Regularly scheduled tournaments Social Games
  14. Apple has already built out the basic payments platform through

    iTunes. Adding in payments for services won't be that much additional work. Micropayments
  15.   When a Facebook friend has a birthday, users are

    encouraged to spend £1 on a gift, posted to their profile page for all to see.   Micro-payments are expected to steadily grow in popularity in major markets over the coming years.   Recently, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), responsible for implementing the European Union's Electronic Money directive in the United Kingdom, relaxed the guidelines that determine what can be purchased via a mobile device. Micropayments
  16.   The majority (41%) of those playing social games work

    full-time, followed by 13% who are retired and 11% who are homemakers. 9% work part-time and another 9% are not currently working.   22% of the UK social gamers earn less than £15,000 annually, 19% earn between £15,000 and £25,000, 20% earn £25,000 and £38,000 and 23% earn £38,000 or more. Micropayments
  17.   Social gaming is still in its very early days.

    A unique idea can quickly capture the social gaming audience.   There are substantial opportunities for social game developers with virtual goods revenue models, but the market is still evolving rapidly.
  18. Games today are so flashy and expensive to make that

    they almost seem to miss the point.
  19.   2010 Social Gaming Research – Information Solutions Group http://bit.ly/bJ9hBl

      Virtual Goods: The Future of Social Gaming 2010 http://www.insidevirtualgoods.com/future-social-gaming   Smartphone Adoption Shifting Dynamics of U.S. Mobile Gaming Market http://bit.ly/cgxhyG   Social Games Observer http://www.socialgamesobserver.com   Inside Social Games http://www.insidesocialgames.com Sources