Article published on June 13, 2014
Are We Seeing The Beginning Of The End Of Social Casino Gaming?By: Harper Whitefield
With the nature of social gaming, often requiring cooperation and interdependence between players, social casino gaming has had a hard time breaking in.
The combination of casino games and the social games market, like that on Facebook, seemed like a match made in heaven at first. Millions of players always looking for something new and being willing to drop requests and invites for their friends to hop in as well waited for those who could get the mix just right. However, it seems that there may be an end in sight for this segment of the games section as attempts to break in continue to fail.
A joint venture between Bwin.Party and Zynga, Zynga Poker, saw such limited response that it seems to be largely ignored by both parties. Another example from just last week is Bingo & Slots Friendzy from Gamesys which was removed entirely from the Facebook platform with such short notice that players who weren't right on top of the news didn't even have time to cut their losses. Left and right it seems like the social casino games are falling off the radar and being either yanked from their hosts or just left to stagnate and be forgotten.
The potential reasons for this are numerous but the core seems to be money, the sole reason for the creation of casino games in the first place. Social gamers on platforms such as Facebook are, as a whole, used to getting to play their games for nothing so long as they're willing to poke friends whenever they want something to help them carry on their game, and they don't expect real rewards in return for their play. Casino games don't work so well this way and require the input of real money in order to play and win real money, which social games don't tend to offer.
In short, it is very hard to start charging people who are looking for something to burn a little time here and there real money in order to play something that they're used to getting for free. There are, of course, those who do pay to play their social games which helps to keep the core gameplay free for the community at large. With this divide between two very different types of online gamers, a very important lesson comes to developers. There is a place for everything and, in order to continue the online casino game market's growth, there should be a focus on those that they know will pay to play and win instead of trying to tempt those who are simply not interested in that business model.