The worldwide social gaming market generated $4.94 billion in 2011, with projections it will grow to $8.64 billion by 2014. Even more impressive is the amount of users, with the five biggest social gaming developers attracting close to 60 million daily active users, and nearly 300 million monthly active users.
Given these numbers, and the Gamesys’ platform now offering Facebook players cash prizes, it’s safe to say that social gaming is on the rise. It’s time to get involved.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when breaking into social gaming:
The companies that are most successful on social media participate in networks, forums and blogs. The aim is to build relationships by responding to comments (both positive and negative), while sharing relevant content and starting discussions.
Aside from changing the way you interact with customers, this active, “human” approach will help establish authority and credibility.
Focus on experience
iGaming companies breaking into social gaming need to provide the same player experience as real-money games, while also incorporating the unique elements of the social media platform. There are, of course, a number of challenges to this, including differences in demographics and skill, but these obstacles can be overcome. Data from Facebook insights and third-party tools, for example, can help you understand your audience, thereby making it easier to create engaging, user-friendly games that people want to share.
Equally important is the development of mobile- and tablet-friendly games, as these are becoming increasingly popular channels.
You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, even if that basket is Facebook. The Zuckerberg production may be a dominant force in the West, but there are many other global options, including Asia’s Sina Weibo and RenRen, Russia’s Vkontakte, and Orkut, the Google-owned network that is big in Brazil. In addition, platforms like Twitter and Pinterest continue to grow, making the case for cross-platform development.
As social gaming becomes more popular, the threat of fraud grows. Social gaming companies now need to safeguard against:
- Gold farmers (scammers targeting virtual goods)
- Identity theft
- Age shifting
- Automation bots
- Malicious apps
- Chip farming (legitimate accounts taken over for chips)
- The use of stolen credit cards to buy in-game items
To tackle fraud and risk management, companies should be investing in a number of security measures (above and beyond the verification systems used by social networks), including layered user verification systems, comprehensive signup pages, and user interaction mechanisms. Affiliates should keep an eye out for companies that focus on extra security: it will protect your business, customers, and reputation.
What other social gaming tips can you share? Leave us your comments below.
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