More people are using social networks to communicate than ever before, but there is wide spread debate around the impact this is having on the world around us. One major change is the way in which we play games. It is believed that currently 200 million people enjoy playing games through social sites such as Facebook. Driven by 19-25 year olds, social gaming will account for 50% of the video gaming market by 2016, with 400 million people expected to be involved in social gaming in the next 5 years.
One gaming industry that has flourished through the rise of social media is the online gambling sector. Realising social networking has the ability for users to discuss and share their views and experiences, many online casinos and sport betting sites have developed apps for Twitter and Facebook, which combine these two elements directly. The successful implementation of this means by 2019 the social media sector is expected to be worth USD 17.40 billion. As a result we can expect to see further developments along these lines.
Gaming that allows people to make cash transactions using social media are not entirely new – the Farmville game played by approximately 80 million people online lets them swap cash for virtual goods on Facebook – but there are now specific casino and sport betting options available on social media platforms Facebook and Twitter.
The head of Consumer PR from Ladbrokes; David Williams commented on this growth by saying “The rate at which social gaming is growing is undoubtedly one of the most exciting developments on our landscape. Being in the right place at the right time to influence consumer behavior and offer discerning customers precisely what they want – and more – will be key to leveraging the cash benefits of social gaming for big firms.”
An important difference between many of these social gaming options and other forms of online gambling is that the users are often not playing in search of financial wins – it is more about the social aspect of betting with friends and the pleasure of gaming. Nonetheless, online casino and sport betting are the natural choice when these social gamers look to explore options that allow them to win real cash.
There are big differences between social gaming and online gambling, but there are also enough parallels that offer an exciting market for gambling sites to explore. The 2013 gaming conference discussing social gaming indicated that the gambling sector is well aware of the potential of the social market, to the point that firms are purchasing social gaming sites and creating games specifically for their users.