Social casino gaming continues to surge from strength to strength, with Eilers and Krejcik Gaming’s latest assessment of the market placing its value in the $5.2bn region.
KamaGames is one such entity very much entrenched within this world, as the social poker operator recently announced growth for the third consecutive year, seeing a 33 per cent revenue increase year-on-year to $76.4m, up from $57.5m for the previous 12 months.
The advancement of mobile technology has played a huge part in this growth, with mobile gaming set to reach a 60 per cent market share of consumer spend in 2019, up 35 per cent from 2013.
As technology continues to make headway, and a plethora of new features and enhanced graphics become commonplace, Andrey Kuznetsov, KamaGames’ CEO, stresses a belief that a more personal touch and creating elements of social ties within titles are crucial in the immediate future: “Anyone who spends time gaming, or on the internet at all, can recognise the trend of personalisation that’s dominated online activity in recent years.
“Personalisation of this kind allows developers to craft an intimate relationship with players”
“We now not only expect brands to address us by name, but also predict our individual wants and needs when considering the deals or promotions they approach us with.
“In gaming, this can come in the form of reaching out to players with specific offers that operators feel may appeal to them, based on their previous activity or through the use of personalised promo campaigns, such as the ones we employed throughout 2018.
“For us, this positively resulted in an increased number of paying users and increased average revenue per paying user.
“Overall, we’ve found that personalisation of this kind allows developers to craft an intimate relationship with players, keeping them engaged and playing and is a significant contributor to the growth of the market.”
“Social casino players have different motivations for playing”
Something else that is crucial is developing deeper socialisation: “It’s important to highlight that, unlike real-money gambling, social casino players have different motivations for playing. The lack of a cash-out option means that players have no expectation of monetary gain from their activity.
“Instead, they’re playing for the entertainment value of the game itself. For most players, it’s the social aspect of the game that keeps them coming back for more. This is something that most social casinos have capitalised on and built their gaming model around.
“In gaming, socialisation focuses on the ability to interact with other players over the course of the many highs and lows of the game, engaging with them through in-game chats, sending gifts etc.”
But what of the longer term? In a world where new innovations are the norm, what is to be adapted to drive social casino’s popularity further still, Kuznetsov believes one possibility could well be geolocated targeting.
“AR and VR offer fantastic potential for the market”
“Most likely we will see developers target geographically specific audiences in emerging markets, by providing them with regionally popular games,” he stressed, pointing to the success of Teen Patti throughout India enjoyed by KamaGames.
The growing adoption of AR and VR based games are also expected to be key to social casino growth along with welcoming areas of the wider gaming environment: “Elements of augmented reality and virtual reality have been seeping into various areas of gaming in recent years, and the social casino market is no exception” Kuznetsov comments.
“The 2016 location-based game Pokemon Go widely popularised AR among users, and its social gaming features were an important contribution to its success.
“AR and VR offer fantastic potential for the market, and will form an increased presence as social casinos continue to attempt to create a more immersive and realistic casino experience for players.
“This technology has the potential to propel the industry to even further success”
“We believe that over the coming years, this technology has the potential to propel the industry to even further success and it will be a factor that we think many social casino operators will explore.
“It’s also suggested that the next frontier for operators will be to branch out into other forms of competitive gaming, still within the realm of social.
“This comes with the rise of esports and sports betting and without saying too much, you can expect to see KamaGames’ interest in this area in 2019.”