Step aside Zynga, there’s a new leader in social casino games, as Caesars Interactive becomes king of the digital town. According to an Eilers Research report, the interactive division of Caesars has displaced Zynga and now hold 18.6 percent of the social casino market.
Part of Las Vegas giant Caesars Entertainment, which is the world’s largest gaming company with $8.83bn revenue in 2012, Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) was formed in 2009 to move Caesars’ brands online. Through studio acquisitions such as Playtika and Buffalo, as well as partnerships with Microsoft and Electronic Arts, CIE has become the largest online, mobile and social gaming company.
CIE is a key innovator of interactive gaming, leading the social space and launching WSOP-branded Xbox and Microsoft 8 titles. Constantly expanding its portfolio, CIE is present across online, mobile and social gaming sectors, as well as being one of the first online operators to run a real-money poker game in the US.
According to research, CIE dominated the social casino market with 18.6 percent share in the second quarter, compared to Zynga’s 15 percent. The third spot is held closely by IGT with 14 percent share, through its DoubleDown Casino. The social casino games market is expected to grow 67 percent to $2bn by year-end, predicted Eilers, whilst online gaming regulation in the US would likely boost this further.
Social casino game revenues on Facebook were down 2 percent during the quarterly period to $309m, with growth of independent platforms such as Big Fish Casino and Playsino. Zynga’s downward market share was mainly attributed to double-digit percentage user declines for Zynga Poker on Facebook.
Competition in social gaming is becoming stronger due to an expanding customer pool linked to a rise of desktop and mobile technologies, as well as a rise of start-up companies and a series of high-profile acquisitions. Operators are also using the social environment as a test-ground for regulated online gaming in global jurisdictions.