Gaming is one of the most popular activities on social platforms. But how big is it, really?
As of last September, Facebook reported over 251 million people are playing. That means 1 out of every 4 of my friends is probably in another round of Words With Friends or building a fancy Winter Chalet in The Sims Social. And the numbers are still rising – according to eMarketer, over half of social network users will be playing games by 2014.
These figures sound impressive, but many believe the social gaming bubble is bursting. Gamesindustry International recently published an article reporting that investment in social gaming companies dropped by $1 billion in 2012, 94% less than 2011. Social gaming giant Zynga hasn’t been doing so hot, either. They were a massive success and dominated the market back in 2008, but they got a little too ahead of themselves and have been on the decline. The days of Mafia Wars and Farmville are long gone now. Their growth has slowed down considerably following their dismal stock failure, forcing them to axe 13 of their games last year to reduce costs.
What’s going to happen to social games, then? Well, perhaps they have peaked, but social gaming is still expanding, and things are changing. Firstly, it’s not all just about Zynga anymore. Their standalone sequel Farmville 2 has been managing to stay on top of Facebook’s number 1 spot, but they were recently pushed aside by Candy Crush Saga, King.com’s match-three puzzle game, which currently has 9.7 million daily active users. Secondly, social gaming is going mobile. eMarketer is forecasting that over half of us mobile owners will be gamers in 2016, and King.com has seized the opportunity by developing a desktop-to-mobile flow in Candy Crush Saga, allowing players to switch between web and mobile as they please. I really, really like having that option; get through a couple of levels while at home on my laptop, get through a few more if I’m on the train and feel like playing something on my phone. This is exactly where Zynga – and everyone else in the industry -should be following their footsteps and bringing cross-platform gaming with synchronization.
Well done, King.com. I’m impressed. And thanks for successfully getting me hooked on Candy Crush.
As Tempero’s resident gamer, Nikki supports clients such as Activision, Xbox and Sony in her role as Community Manager. Outside of work, she spends much of her time playing GuildWars2 and frantically trying to beat her husband’s high scores in Candy Crush Saga.