SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SOCIAL AND MONEY GAMES
Social casinos are distributed through social networks. As a rule, they are multi-user and browser-based, that means they do not need installation on a PC and are accessible from most mobile devices connected to the Internet.
In fact, social casinos do not have many differences with the games for “conditional money” or as they are called “trial games” or “games for candy wrappers” in virtual online casinos. There is the same bright interface and animation, the same mechanism of the game, the ability to manage settings, etc. There are also the same popular games such as poker, roulette, slot machines, there are bets that you can both win and lose too.
The differences are the following: if online casino players play for conventional money only in order to learn the game principle and practice, and then use the acquired skills and knowledge in the game for real money, social casinos are played solely for fun. In addition, the player can not change money won in the social casino for real one. It is the reason why social games can be called “gambling” with a great stretch, in fact, this is a kind of analogue that has much in common but no more. The main motivation of the gambler is the cash gain, in social games, it is the process of playing.
Another difference is the legislative regulation. If online casinos are banned in many countries, social games are legal all over the world.
Social players are a more active audience compared to visitors of online casinos. They play more often running more sessions. For example, their indicators of the number of game days are 1.6 times higher than those of other online players. And every day they play, social players launch 1.4 times more sessions compared to online casino players. Thus, according to statistics, mobile players have not only a bigger number of game days but also higher activity on these days. A rapid development of mobile technologies contributes to this fact.
In general, mobile players show more progress in all respects. They quickly get involved and go into the category of customers who invest money in their hobbies, they make the second and subsequent payments faster, play more often and initiate several sessions each time they are in the game. By all accounts, they resemble online casino players but in an accelerated version.
Both the general availability of the Internet and the gaming platform itself contribute to the high dynamics. It includes a mobile device, which is always with the player, and which you can constantly look at. Unlike more conservative online players, their mobile counterparts can play literally on the go, when you want to kill time or have the opportunity to escape.
All games have the same goal to spend as much as possible time on this activity and achieve the highest possible results. In social games, players can play for free, but in order to pass the initial stages, they will have to buy more levels or solicit extra lives from friends, for example, the game Candy Crush Saga (the most popular social game on Facebook). All achievements and tasks can be shared with friends on a social network.
Facebook users exchange cash for in-games. Players buy credits for their gaming account or make bets with real money. Thus, quite large sums can be spent during the game.
Social casino games are pure entertainment, but players are strongly motivated to keep playing all the time. According to the research by psychologists, new players become “addicted” very quickly trying to accumulate more virtual money or points, go to the next level — therefore, they return to the game every day. Players of social casinos want to progress in the game and are willing to pay money for it.
Having carefully studied the audience of social players in the most developed markets of the USA, Great Britain, and Australia, psychologists came to a curious conclusion. Players who spend a lot of time in social casino games spend about $550 monthly, that is up to $7,000 annually to play without any hope of winning. At the same time, real-money players in online casinos spend about the same amount according to statistics.
The benefits of social games
The audience of players in social networks consists of tens of millions of people. The attendance traffic of social casinos is almost 20 times higher than the traffic of online casinos.
The main advantage of social casinos is that they are legal in all countries and are not considered gambling, but they also bring huge profits to their creators. Based on the norms of the law, a certain material gain such as a prize or money is foreseen in gambling. In a social casino, nothing material can be obtained from the game results.
At the same time, social players are willing to spend real sums on their entertainment.
MECHANISM OF HOLDING PLAYERS
There are several ways to keep a player in a social casino. The first method has a marketing basis and consists of using constant innovations to maintain player interest. These are constant updates, where much of the total revenue is spent on the improved gameplay, new levels, new unique abilities, additional bonuses, and features. All this serves as an anchor for regular players.
The second way is to distort the probability of winning in order to “tie” the player. Dynamic Game Balancing is used in social games for this purpose. Consider how it works on the example of «one-armed bandits.» If a player cannot go through a level in any way, the game becomes easier for him. On the contrary, if the player plays too well, the game becomes harder for him. The percentage of returns in a social casino can change even in the middle of a gaming session: a player can start playing having 125% and finish with 75%. In fact, events in social games almost never happen in a truly random way. After all, “playability” is important for developers, so that the player continues to acquire extra points, scores, and chips for real money. In real gambling in online casinos, the odds of winning can not change.
HOW SOCIAL CASINOS EARN MONEY
The principle of a social casino is being free entertainment, but a player can buy a lot of things for real money. For example, a player is given a certain amount of chips daily. The system is built in such a way that the game involves and interests. And when the player lost the set of free daily allowance but wants to enjoy the game further, he can buy chips for real money. You can also buy a lot of bonuses, elements of VIP accounts, exclusive avatars, some updates, etc. Sometimes, you need to pay a fee to participate in certain tournaments with real money.
The second significant item of social casino income is the money received for advertising banners. Due to the huge traffic, games in social networks are a very profitable advertising platform.
Even today, advertising revenues on social games are going wild, and in some cases, can go up to $10 per user. For several years, demand exceeded supply, even despite the very large number of mobile devices used for gaming.
PERSPECTIVES OF SOCIAL CASINO DEVELOPMENT
Social casinos as a business line represent great prospects for both developers and investors.
According to statistics, the number of people who play games in social networks exceeds the number of registered users of online casinos playing with real money by almost 20 times, and has already reached almost 5 million people per month.
According to forecasts, in 2017, social and mobile casinos with virtual currency will generate half the income of the entire online casino sector which equals 19 billion euros. This market is very large, developing dynamically and there is still room for new, brave startups capable of finding their niche. Currently, after the rapid development of social games in 2013 in social networks, in 2014, their explosive growth began on mobile platforms.
What has a significant impact on the further development of the social casino market?
1. The growing popularity of mobile platforms and the availability of the mobile Internet.
2. Further development of social networks and coverage of new eastern markets.
3. Legality in the legislative field.
4. The development of new technologies related to virtual reality.
Also, social casinos are interesting for online and real casino owners, as they can acquaint the audience with the world of gambling and stimulate people to try their luck online.