SGC – The Bridge Between Online gaming and Social Gaming


In a relatively short period of time, social gaming has crept right up to the front and center of online gambling company’s radars.  Many feel that there is opportunity for collaboration between the online gambling and social gaming industries, but this is still a grey area because there is a lack historical data due to the social gaming industry being so new.

Social Gambling Conference 2012 The purpose of the first Social Gambling Conference was to bring together the two industries and create a forum to debate and discuss issues such as regulation of social gaming, addictive behavior, the state of the industry, best practices in the industry and how existing gambling companies are looking to incorporate social gaming strategies into their suite of offerings.

Keynote speaker Dean Takahashi, Lead Writer for Venture Beat, pointed out that the Social Gaming bubble got its start in December of 2011 after the infamous DOJ ruling- this is when social games started looking hot in the US market.  Shortly following the ruling, IGT purchased DoubleDown and none of us can stop talking about Zynga.

Takahashi told that he does not necessarily believe that there is much crossover between social gamers and real money gamblers, but that online gambling companies have a large net to cast and there are likely a few whales in the large pool of players that social gaming attracts.

Noel Hayden, CEO of Gamesys, presented today for the first time in his career and offered up a number of nuggets based on his company’s experience in the social gaming space.  Gamesys powers “Friendzy”, the first real money game to be approved by Facebook in the UK and they are preparing the launch of a “Farmville” style social game in early 2013.

 Some key take-homes from his presentation include:

  • Analytics, analytics, analytics!  “Data is king” when it comes to success in social gaming
  • “Facebook is refer a friend on steroids” – the invite a friend feature is something you must take advantage of on the facebook platform.
  • Freemium players that convert to Real Money Players are more valuable than the average Real Money Player.
  • Dual screen- TV + Tablet interaction- is the wave of the future

Seeing as the social gaming industry is so new, there are still quite a few topics of debate amongst professionals, one being the issue of regulation. Should social games be regulated and if so, how?

Just about everyone agrees that regulation of social games is overkill, but there was a big debate today between Jez San of PKR and Steve Donoughue who was representing the social gaming industry during the discussion.  San believes that social gaming can be “addictive” and that operators should allow players to place a limit on their spend to avoid problem gambling.  On the other hand, Donoughue bristled at the word “addictive” argued that social gaming is entertaining, not addictive.  He also thinks its crazy to spend huge amounts of development money on allowing players to place limits on their spend.

Lets just say it was a heated debate, as in, the phrase “shut up” was used.

After witnessing this debate and the other presentations held today at the conference, its clear that there is still very much to be learned about the social gaming industry.  Is there is any real cross over between the social gamer and the online gambler? Will the regulation of the US market have an effect on the social gambling industry?  Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see…