Social casino: 'PC market still earns north of US$1bn annually'

31 July 2017

In the second of our interviews with speakers from Casual Connect USA, SuperData’s lead social casino analyst Carter Rogers explains why and how social casino publishers should continue to target the PC audience, despite mobile's increasing dominance as a platform.

iGaming Business: Mobile has been the dominant channel for some time now and 85% of social casino users now play on smartphone. Are there now sufficient differences between the mobile and PC audiences to justify targeting the latter?
Carter Rogers:
The mobile audience is now actually very closely aligned demographically with PC users. For example, the average age of PC social casino players is 41, compared to 39 for smartphone users. That being said, PC players tend to be the most engaged and are the heaviest spenders. Additionally, 43% of the audience plays on both PC and mobile. Having a presence on all platforms allows developers to reach players who want a larger screen at home but still want to play on the go.

iGB: If so, how should publishers be going about this in 2017? Are there particular types of game, theme, genre or mechanics they be focusing on?
CR:
Differences in genre or theme preferences are relatively minimal between mobile and PC users. Casino-style games (titles like DoubleDown Casino that contain slots, poker and more) tend to be slightly more popular on PC, since a larger screen can better show a detailed virtual casino lobby.

iGB: What are publishers getting most wrong when it comes to targeting the user base on PC?
CR:
Not necessarily something publishers are doing wrong, but it’s worth emphasizing that companies behind very “social” social casino games, e.g. titles that offer virtual social spaces, should not neglect PC. Some 55% of PC players enjoy playing with friends, compared to 43% of mobile players.

iGB: Player survey data is the cornerstone of your dataset. Which insights or trends arising from this would publishers do well to focus on as they develop and build for the future?
CR:
While consumer surveys are a major part of our data, our main strength is our proprietary data partnerships with game makers and payment service providers, which allow us to collect point-of-sale and event data. These power our current market estimates and contribute to our forward-looking projections. What those projections show is that while the social casino market is indisputably going mobile, the PC market will still earn north of US$1bn annually for the next few years.

iGB: There has been a shift in ownership among the top publishers from US casino groups to Asian firms. Aside from Caesars and IGT having received offers they couldn’t refuse for Playtika and DoubleDown respectively, what does this tell you about the maturity and direction of the social casino sector?
CR:
Asian and Western tastes in social casino games are still rather different and will remain that way. For example, in China, the card game Fight the Landlord is one of the most popular types of social casino games. Likewise, DoubleU Games, despite being a Korean company, focuses on international markets and not Korea. Both of these recent acquisitions do show that the western social casino market is extremely attractive to Asian firms, and one of the best ways to reach western players is to utilize western gambling-based brands. It’s also worth mentioning that Playtika was also acquired in part due to its expertise in data analytics.

Carter Rogers will be presenting on ‘Mobile Earns More but is PC Social Casino Dead? at Casual Connect on 3 August in Seattle.

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