First we had the rise of online casinos. Then we had the explosion of social networking. It was inevitable that the two would merge - after all, it’s one of the most obvious link ups in the social media app gaming industry so far.
So when the Las Vegas casino, Golden Nugget decided to launch their own casino game on Facebook back in 2010, people weren’t too surprised. But it wasn’t yet clear how huge Facebook casino games would become.
By 2012, IGT, a manufacturer of slot machine games, were busy announcing their new acquisition - a Facebook Casino developer called Double Down Interactive.
Let’s take a look at some of the social media Facebook games out there that are competing, or perhaps working in tandem with online casinos where players can get stuck into online blackjack and a host of other traditional casino games.
The bricks and mortar casino invested a huge $90 million in Playtika, a Facebook casino start up, and many people really questioned their move at the time. Caesars Interactive acquired Playtika along with Buffalo Studios in 2012 and they now operate many of the world’s top grossing casino games on Facebook and mobile phone and smartphone apps. In August this year, Caesars Interactive was ranked as the most powerful company in its sector.
Zynga exploded onto the social gaming scene in 2009 with Farmville, arguably its most well known game. Within six weeks of its release, Farmville was reaching 10 million daily active users and by January of this year, their games were being played by 265 million monthly users. Three of Facebook’s top five games were Farmville 2, ChefVille and Texas HoldEm poker, showing that the social media demographic and online gamblers are a great match. Zynga’s relationship with Facebook ended at the end of March 2013, leaving them to move onto their own gaming platform and go back to their roots with social gaming.
One of the biggest players in the video game industry, EA have also released their first game in this sector - Lucky Gem Casino, developed by their acquisition, PopCap. This is the creator of extremely popular casual games in the Bejewelled franchise and the Lucky Gem casino offers online slots based on this game as well as Monopoly Party. Loads of mini-games and, of course, the key social element - that of being able to chat with friends in real time, play against them or play in teams with them, makes this one of the most successful social online casino games.
There are also lots of poker and casino games outside of Facebook that are play for fun, rather than real cash. It’s likely that the sector will become ever more complicated and competitive meaning developers and leading companies will need to freshen up their social casino games regularly in order to stay ahead of the competition.