In the first Social Gaming Summit to be held in Asia the speakers and delegates come together to discuss the connection between real world gambling and the rise of internet games. Mobile gaming was in the spotlight for most of the day with talks from several mobile game manufacturers giving their insights into game production in the region.
The day began with a talk from Stephan Lee; the executive director of 6Waves spent much of his talk discussing business models and the potential for cross selling between the gaming and gambling market. Lee explained how 20% of social gamers are also social gamblers but of that 20%, only 2% of those social gamblers are converted to premium gambling. Lee pointed out that Social gamblers spend on average $500 a year compared to $300 a year for social gamers. Another stat that stood out was 6.48% vs. 44%; Facebook has a 44% penetration rate in North America but only 6.48% in Asia. Despite the disparity in percentages, Asia recently surpassed North America in total active users on Facebook.
Dr. Serkan Toto talked about the Japanese gaming market boldly stating Japan is a gaming nation. He pointed out that the Japanese market is more willing to accept higher pay walls to purchase and play games. He points to Japans arcade game culture where putting coins into an arcade game for play has long been the standard, so paying to play mobile games isn’t a hard sell.
Digital Creative Director for Edelman China Kestrel Lee talks about the psychology of Asian gamers. He stressed that if social gaming is to continue its growth, companies will need to focus their attention on the Asian market. He pointed out that social gaming is already on the decline in North America, noting that 95% of North America acquired in the beginning of the beginning 3rd quarter had become inactive by the end of the same quarter. He also highlighted the importance of a freemium model, where the games are free to play but for quicker advancements and extra bonuses, players will need make in app purchases.
There were a couple of panel discussions on investor relations and game development both panels offered a few insights over the previous talks but nothing ground breaking.
The stars of the conference were the team from BitInstant.com. BitInstant.com provides people an easy way to purchase Bitcoins, a new virtual currency that is decentralized and transferred via a P2P model. They espoused the value of this new currency for gambling companies who are having trouble taking payments from markets like the United States and China where the restrictions on money flow are becoming more cumbersome. They spent much of their talk educating the audience on Bitcoins, it took a bit of time but you could see certain members of the audience could see the benefits of a currency. After their talk, which went well past their allotted time due to the high volume of questions from the audience, there was a line up of gambling and junket operators looking for more information. We have an in-depth interview with Roger Ver and Erik Voorhees of BitInstant.com coming soon.