Social gamers Zynga continued their efforts to remake themselves in a mobile mode via the first mobile version of the company’s flagship FarmVille franchise. FarmVille 2: Country Escape differs from its Facebook-bound predecessors in that users don’t need to have friends in order to play. Finally, a Farmville for the Unabomber set! Zynga says that around three-quarters of the products in its development pipeline are primarily focused on mobile gaming.
Mobile is also the star performer in the latest social casino stats from market analysts Eilers Research. Mobile accounted for 46% of global social casino revenue in the first three months of 2014, up 13.8% from Q4 2013. Over the same period, Facebook’s share of the social casino game revenue pie shrunk 0.8%, reflecting the ongoing trend of game players ditching their desktops in favor of phone, tablet and phablet devices.
Breaking down the stats by company, Eilers says Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) has tightened its grip on the social casino developer crown. CIE’s mid-February addition of House of Fun developers Pacific Interactive helped boost its Q1 market share to 17.8%, up 15.7% from Q4. IGT’s DoubleDown Casino placed second in the social casino derby, albeit well back of CIE at 11.2% (+1.6%)
Zynga’s social casino titles were strong enough to place the company third with 8.8%, although that was down 2.8% thanks to a dip in Zynga Poker revenue from Facebook. (Zynga will shed more light on its revenue when it hands in its Q1 report card on April 23.) GSN’s addition of Bash Gaming allowed it to leap into fourth place with 8%, leaving Big Fish Games in fifth with 5.1%. The top four companies reported a pretty even split between Facebook and mobile revenue, while Big Fish earned nearly all its revenue from the mobile channel.
CASINORPG BRINGS ROLE-PLAYING TO THE SOCIAL CASINO REALM
Finally, one social casino developer is endeavoring to break the mold by incorporating role-playing and city-building elements into the standard slots and table game action. Goldfire Studios beta-launched its CasinoRPG game last year and the finished product is now ready to rumble. The Kickstarter-funded game will be hosted on the Goldfire Network in-house platform as well as on HTML5 apps.
Unlike traditional social casino titles, virtual credits earned from game-play can be used to help CasinoRPG players rise up the casino karma ladder. Starting from the bottom rung (janitor), players can use their hard-earned credits – whether from gambling, missions or slaving away at jobs in casinos owned by other players – to eventually buy a plot of land and erect their own digital gaming joint where other lowly mop-jockeys toil for your benefit. And should you someday become as virtually rich as Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson is in the real world, maybe you’ll be able to bankroll a virtual campaign to rid the world of Sheldon’s real-world casinos.