As part of the expanding online gaming market, social casino mobile applications are growing, improving, and moving up the sales charts and onto an increasing number of mobile devices.
Indeed, the recently released list of top grossing iPad apps for 2014 showed that social casino games are becoming increasingly popular in the tablet marketplace. Specifically, social casino games make up 40% of the top 10 grossing iPad apps, and 40 percent of the top 25 grossing iPad apps.
In 2014, DoubleDown Interactive’s DoubleDown Casino and Big Fish Games’ Big Fish Casino stole a spot on the top grossing list, while GSN Games earned the number eight spot with its mobile app GSN Casino, and the number 10 slot went to its recently-acquired Bingo Bash. This is the second year in a row that GSN Casino and Bingo Bash have made the list of top 10 grossing iPad apps.
“What you would find common among most of the companies in the top 10 is they are definitely not just improving the quality of content from a consumer stand point,” said Andrew Pedersen, senior vice president and general manager of GSN Games’ social casino division. “There’s just as big of an investment in terms of sophistication and how they manage the experience for the market.”
According to Pedersen, the social casino market is intensely competitive. However, there hasn’t been a massive shift in the companies and games that earn the top spots in the sales charts. Still, with the games rapidly growing in popularity, more and more companies are trying to get a piece of the pie.
“As a result there have been a lot of smaller companies trying to enter the space assuming it’s easy and straightforward, because on the surface, that’s how it appears,” Pedersen said. “But in terms of the levels of sophistication and understanding of human behavior, how you create anticipation and excitement, making sure the math of the games delivers on the experience, all of these things are part of the dark art of making successful casino products.… It’s constantly going to be something that evolves, which is also something that’s going to be an impediment for new entrants into the market because it’s something difficult to master.”
GSN’s latest and most successful launches include American Buffalo Slots, and their Wheel of Fortune Vegas Edition slot, Pedersen explained that these slots in particular continue to be popular with players because they give them the “real” slot machine experience that they would have in a brick-and-mortar casino.
Meanwhile, the social casino market shows no signs of slowing down. According to Pedersen, this past year it drew $2.7 billion, and is expected to grow to $3.3 billion in 2015. Pedersen believes that this increase is due to the fact that the popular games are becoming more and more mainstream in order to compete with the rest of top grossing apps.
“It isn’t just people who are trying to scratch the itch they get for gambling,” he said. “It really is a form of entertainment, and for us, the future is how do we broaden the market? How do we make it so that the experience is even more mainstream and delivering the kind of entertainment experience that is going to compete with a lot of the products that you see in the casual space that are very mass market?”