Social gaming declines as social gambling rises
Social gambling

Social gambling and portable devices are the best vehicles for future gaming profits.

Investments in social gaming took a nosedive in 2012, dragging average figures for the gaming industry down with them. Not all segments, however, experienced a downturn. This is the conclusion that can be drawn from a recent report published by investment firm Digi-Capital.

There are some reasons for optimism, as the general withdrawal of funds essentially did not affect the other sectors of the industry, and some areas and technologies even enjoyed increased attention.

While investors were jumping the social gaming ship in droves and its USD 1 billion loss contributed 94% of the whole industry’s investment plunge in 2012, there was one area that did not get the short end of the stick: namely, social gambling, which continues to attract investor attention (and money).

As the gap between the online and mobile games market fundamentals and investment activity kept growing and the social gaming bubble eventually burst, some prior gaming investors discontinued their activities completely. It is by no accident that Zynga made significant moves last year to prepare a strong entry to the online gambling market.

From a technology standpoint 2012 saw mobile gaining on other platforms and even jumping ahead according to some figures. It is obvious that portable devices have become an accepted and even preferred means for many players intent on testing their casino strategies on the Internet.

While up to recently mobile devices may have been mainly used to read some casino gambling news on the train, the scene has been changing dramatically. Advances in hardware and software development have made actual mobile gambling quick and easy.

Players nowadays have very little trouble if they want to play online blackjack, slots, roulette or other games. The pace of development is picking up, with offerings already being created exclusively for portable devices.

In terms of value, the M&A transaction “league table” is led by multiplayer online games at 38%, with mobile ranking second at 27%. Social games came in a distant third with 18% of the total acquisition value, while everything else was negligible.

Attesting to the level of activity in the mobile segment is the fact that it ranked first in terms of transaction volume, accounting for 28% of the deals. Multiplayer followed with 20%. Mobile also fared well in investment value, with 31% of the money going to it. This is very close on the heels of the 35% invested into gamification.

Clearly, social gambling and mobile devices are on their way up and expected to make headlines more and more often.