Social media gaming is an industry that didn’t exist ten years ago, so it is often best to keep that in mind when tracking its meteoric rise. That said, its growth has been described by the US’s Time Magazine as “eye-popping”. And it is.
The Growth of Social Media Gaming Companies
Since 2012, the average annual growth has been a whopping 128 per cent. Although that figure is predicted to level out over the next few years, the industry is expected to continue growing. Sites like EKM Powershop have been monitoring the increase commerce when it comes to social media businesses and the results have been astonishing.
As marketing research expert IBIS World says: “The accelerating speed and accessibility of the internet has led to skyrocketing growth for web-based industries. Over the past five years, social networks in particular have become an integral part of life for many customers; connecting them with others and helping them find a cheap alternative source of entertainment.”
Forbes and IBIS World have named social media gaming as the hottest niche for start-up businesses in 2013. Over the past five years the sector has experienced growth of a whopping 180 per cent. The spread of high tech mobile devices such as iPhones is one of the main reasons for the surge. A recent survey found mobile device users spend 30 per cent of their time on social networks.
Important part of the economy
Projected annual growth for social gaming until 2017 is around 22 per cent a year – but as gaming and social media find ways to further integrate themselves into people’s lives, it’s easy to see how they will both become an important part of the economy.
This year, London organisation King overtook Zynga as the most used social gaming company thanks to the surge in popularity of Candy Crush Saga. Remarkably, King has just around 400 employees while Zynga has 2,902 – even after laying off five per cent of its workforce towards the end of last year.
“King now has more than 66 million daily players of our games, and in Candy Crush Saga, we have a global hit on Facebook and on mobile,” says Riccardo Zacconi, the chief executive of King.
“Our players love being able to switch from mobile phone to tablet computer to PC without losing their progress in the game — the cross-platform synchronization that makes that possible is a big reason for our popularity. Our bite-size games are perfect for coffee breaks, bus journeys, or any spare few minutes in your day.”
Zynga has noted that it is not particularly concerned with the successes of King – not seeing the marketplace as a zero-sum game.
A huge opportunity
Zynga’s chief operations officer, David Ko, said: “The way I look at it is, we have a belief that social gaming is a huge opportunity… Not only from the estimate that it is a $9 billion market but also from what we’re seeing in the marketplace. Competition like this just reinforces the opportunity. My biggest thing is I want to make sure that we’re confident that you’re going to see more of our franchises in that mix.”
Many associate games with child’s play, which, to be blunt, is wrong. According to Mashable, of the 845 million users on Facebook, 46 per cent are 45 years. Of Twitter’s 45m users, 33 per cent come in this age category. A common misconception is that online gaming has to cater for the younger audience.
Whoever has the next great idea, in line with Words with Friends, FarmVille or Draw Something, could be well on their way to making a fortune. If that sounds like something that might interest you research from the Entertainment Software Association can help you spot trends and figure out what type of game to build.