Analysts chart the success of social casino games

By Emma Rumney
A report by app analysts Distimo has revealed that social casino games are "one of the hottest sectors in mobile gaming right now" and deserve more attention.

Using data from Distimo ApplQ, the first two stages of the three-part report demonstrates that social casino games and their publishers have a significant presence on the top grossing leaderboards of both the Apple App Store and Google Play, proving their ability to generate "stacks of revenue from traditional in-app purchases on mobile, without the need for a real-money gambling component".

In part one of the report, which examined the globe's most profitable publishers according to the leaderboards over a one-week period in March, Distimo explain that while "the app industry is fixated on the highest-grossing publishers" such as Supercell, King and Gung Ho, they overlook the fact that a "sizeable" portion of the top 100 is made of up social casino game makers.

In the iOS App Store, 20 of the top 100 publishers offer at least one social casino game, with Google Play's leaderboard similarly including 19. This means they make up around one fifth of publishers on both leaderboards and are "a force to be reckoned with in app stores".

Underlining their potential is the fact that social casino games have seen much interest from land-based casino operators and casino games manufacturers, with a “slew of mergers and acquisitions among social casino game makers and casino operators".

The top social casino gaming publisher on both the Apple App Store and Google Play in the week focused on by Distimo's report - Playtika - has been owned by Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) since 2011. The report notes CIE have made three other social casino gaming-related acquisitions since 2012.

Other examples include provider International Game Technology (IGT), who purchased another top social casino games publisher, Double Down Interactive.

The first part of the report also compared the top 10 social casino game publishers' share of global revenue on both platforms for that week. The top seven of these generated more revenue in the Apple App Store than they did in Google Play.

For 17-23 March, Israeli-based Slotomania creator Playtika was the number one social casino games publisher on both leaderboards, accounting for 21% of global revenue for the top 10 in Apple's App Store and 22% on Google Play. Other social casino games publishers who made it into the top 10 on both platforms include Zynga (12% and 9% respectively), Big Fish Games (16% and 7%) and Buffalo Studios (6% and 11%).

Part two of the report also used leaderboards, this time looking at the highest grossing apps for the Apple App Store and Google Play. During the same seven-day period 13 social casino games, including casino, poker, slots and bingo titles, were among the top 100 apps.

Playtika's Slotomania was the number one social casino game on both, with 20% of global revenue share in each. It was followed closely by Big Fish Games with 18% in the Apple App Store, although Big Fish wasn't present in the top ten of Google Play's leaderboard. Slotomania dwarfed all those ranked below it on Google Play and the report found that the remaining nine games hold similar shares of global revenue ranging from 7% to 11%.

As owner of Slotomania and Bingo Blitz, CIE held a “commanding” 39% share from their combined revenue on the Google Play leaderboard.

Again the report found that most of the apps generated the majority of their revenue from the Apple App Store, and also from the iPad rather than the iPhone.

Overall, Distimo conclude that "the presence of social games in the top grossing charts is nothing to sneeze at".

Emma Rumney

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