State of the Social Casino Industry � Q4 2017
Deconstructor of Fun breaks down successful free-to-play games in search of what makes them fun - or not.
All of the contributors to this site are both gamers and game makers.
The next in our prediction series - Casino category predictions!
Also, the other 2019 Predictions can be found.
Before you jump in, let us sum up how we arrived to the predictions.
Then we further broke down the genres into categories based on games and then we further divided each category into a sub-category based.
Please, take the numbers presented with a giant grain of salt.
They are mobile casino games market more to show trends and to give rough estimates.
Special thanks to and for writing this one.
First: A Quick More info of the Casino Category As the 3rd largest category by revenue in the industry, Casino games have seen a healthy revenue growth trend over 2018 too.
Most definitely it was Slots that contributed to ~70% of this uptick.
Show me the DOWNLOADS!
The above mentioned YoY category revenue growth is not very surprising, given how the Casino space has prided itself with regular QoQ revenue growth for the longest time.
But there is no industry that continues to grow revenues infinitely without also growing its user base.
And 2018 was another year of no mobile casino games market growth for Casino games!
As can be seen in the graph above, downloads market size stagnation has been a problem plaguing the Casino space for at least the past 2 years.
Moreover, this is contributing to slowed down category mobile casino games market growth too.
Needless to say, that is not a great place to be if the category wants to stay relevant long term.
It is no secret that the Casino space has not seen too many disruptive ideas.
Key developers have focussed on improving production values, running great live ops, adding a lot of content depth and implementing minor innovative engagement features.
Most definitely, this led to the rich becoming richer, while making it quite hard for the Casino market to attract fresh users from other genres, for example - unless some major innovation was brought to the table.
Not only is it attracting non-slots mobile gamers to the space, but also is growing rapidly in markets like India and Israel that are not traditional land-based slots market, which is usually a strong indicator for a lucrative slots game market to expand into.
We expect similar growth to continue in 2019 in markets like Japan, APAC and more of Europe.
Though there has been one significant change in the kinds of acquisitions happening, with one of the hottest deals of 2018, Playtika a social casino giant acquiring Wooga no experience in the social casino space whatsoever.
Such moves combined with Coin Master style products taking the market by storm indicate that key Casino go here developers will look to develop genre-blender products that continues to attract new downloads from other genres and hence expand market size even further.
More on this later in the post.
Third - continued monetisation growth to boost LTVs, and hence fuel increased UA.
The Casino space has been heavily dependent on IAP revenue for the longest time, but also entertains an audience that would mobile casino games market willing to be ad monetised.
Luckily enough, 2018 was the year of Hypercasual - and its supercharging of the ad monetisation value chain to make ads a safe and proven lucrative revenue source across the industry.
Further, a healthy percentage of Casino revenues are generated from loyal VIP payers, and subscription based offerings are another monetisation tactic that the mobile gaming industry has gotten closer to perfecting over 2018.
If any developer can improve product LTVs through the above, then spending more on UA will follow and will drive further downloads growth in the category.
The only problem of course will be scaling against rapidly rising CPIs, given key industry more info essentially fighting for the same users.
Bingo As the smallest sub-genre by revenue, Bingo games have been growing revenues QoQ since Q3 2017.
It is currently the highest downloaded of all the considered Bingo games.
Having said all this, the massive growth period on its way to a conclusion as the revenue growth curve has been slowing down QoQ.
In terms of 2018 publisher market share, things have remained relatively stable.
Key publishers have maintained their respective market positions and there were no major new releases that shook up the market.
Playtika continues to maintain its dominating position at a ~25% downloads share and ~50% revenue share.
After and thereby expanding its operations to Toronto, Jam City now owns 10% of the Bingo market.
In summary, market shares are relatively stable, growth has slowed down and products have reached a point of almost no differentiation.
All very strong signs of a greatly matured market, and therefore a market primed for either continued stability or some kind of shake up in 2019.
At the same time, Supertreat still has some ground to cover to beat TriPeaks with quarterly revenues currently at half that of TriPeaks.
It should be noted that these two games have also resulted in the Solitaire category seeing significant revenue share growth over 2018 - though Poker continues to dominate.
Blackjack games were another major growth category, moving from a 10% by the end of 2018.
But whats up with Zynga Poker?
In a slight shocker, Of game queen slot hearts free lost over half of its downloads market share 50% to 23%.
In terms mobile casino games market 2018 download volumes, WSOP and Zynga Poker made up 60% of the poker specific card game market - each holding 30%.
On the revenue side of things, both ate up an 80% share - with WSOP at 35% and Zynga Poker at 45%.
While it is clear that these two titles dominate the market, WSOP has been growing revenues +20% YoY at a much faster rate compared to Zynga Poker flat YoY.
Given the data above, we would argue that bringing WPT into Zynga Poker is majorly driven by Zynga not only wanting to compete with WSOP at a product level, but also at a branding level.
Based on the table on the above, it is also clear that WSOP is clearly the bigger of the two Poker events - and therefore the more well known of the two on a global scale.
It is mobile casino games market for Zynga to focus on great feature design and a stellar marketing collaboration mobile casino games market WPT to reap the rewards of this brand integration, because the WPT IP alone will not carry Zynga Poker back to the market leader for too long - especially given how Zynga Poker gains only 35% of its revenues from US.
Slots Though being the largest sub-genre in the Casino category, Slots have unfortunately been the least colourful.
Downloads were flat YoY in 2018, while revenues steadily rose and saw an approximately +20% uplift YoY - mainly driven by a gradual rise in portfolio revenues of Playtika, Product Madness, Huuuge Global and Scientific Games International.
Yes, the Slots segment is still growing - just not like it was two or three or six years ago.
This means the year ahead will hold increased pressure to deliver on operational expertise - regular content releases at least twice a month with a wide array of fun and engaging live op activities, and all anchored behind the scenes by top-notch product and data science organisations.
Oh, by the way, Playtika is market leader in this sub-genre too!
On the product side of things, Slots games have not seen too much of innovation over the past few years.
Product differentiation is driven by product UX, art styles, production quality and minor meta systems such as quests and saga maps.
Further, slots game economies are still stuck largely in the digital dark ages of the single currency economy.
Many games feature secondary and even tertiary currencies, but slots players still largely only care about coins.
Given all this, one could say that the sub-genre is primed for innovation.
Be sure to check out our Coin Master deconstruct next week!
It is very likely that top Slots games developers will move closer to such genre-blending game designs in 2019, so as to evolve and grow not only the Slots sub-genre, but also possibly the other two Casino sub-genres.
Necessity breeds innovation, so this should be exciting to see.
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