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 The Future of Online Bingo and Social Gaming

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Join date : 2012-11-01

PostSubject: The Future of Online Bingo and Social Gaming   20/11/2012, 10:32 pm

The social gaming market is without a doubt the biggest buzz word in the gaming world. According to reports, more than 200 million people are playing online games on a social network and revenue from these games are expected to reach over $5 billion by 2015. If this is the case, why then did two major innovators in the social gaming market face major loses this year. The two brands I’m talking about of course is Zynga and Wonder Bingo. Many expected them to be a longstanding success within the industry but instead Zynga faced major setbacks and Wonder has fallen off the map completely.

As some of you may know, Wonder Bingo actually started out as a Facebook App. Launching in late 2010, it was free to play and at it’s peak boasted over 400,000 subscribers. Then in March 2011, Wonder launched it’s own standalone pay bingo site that had lots of unique and exciting features. Unfortunately, Wonder Bingo closed their Facebook game shortly after opening their online bingo brand, which left many users in the cold.

Wonder Bingo had hoped to converge a large percentage of their Facebook players over to the new site, however they missed the mark completely. While the provided good value offers (no deposit bingo) for a while, in a heavily competitive market, there’s only so long you can do this before it becomes financially unviable. Wonder realised this and earlier this year they joined the Gaming Network in attempts to offer bigger prizes. Sometimes, this can be a good move, but in Wonder Bingo’s case it just made them look like every other bingo site on the market.

It’s also safe to assume that many players using the Wonder Bingo Facebook App would have enjoyed it because it was free to play. To then, try and get those players to pay to use the site would not be an easy task. In the past, free bingo offers have never been a safe drawcard for paysites. You may remember Cheeky Bingo were hailed as an innovation for their many free bingo rooms and whilst the player numbers in those rooms were massive, most of those players never made the transition over to a paying player.

Of course, you’ve got your serious bingo players who would be happy to put in money to try out a new site. But if Wonder Bingo has the same offerings as every other site on the network, why then would the serious bingo players want second rate deals when they can get better ones from a more reputable site. Because of this, Wonder Bingo closed it’s doors in July 2012 once again leaving players and affiliates without so much of an explanation.

Zynga Bingo was another big social gaming brand this year to face downfalls. You may know Zynga as the brand who is famously behind the Facebook game Farmville and Zynga Bingo. They take up a large share in the market, but earlier last month not only did they fire over 150 staff members but their stocks took a nosedive.

Here’s a look at some big shifts in the market that may have caused both Zynga Bingo and Wonder Bingo’s power to plummet.

Clicks got costly
5 years back there was a huge untapped market of potential gamers on Facebook and the way to reach them was through Facebook advertising. Most brands weren’t interested in Facebooks ads just yet so the ad click rate price was low. Brands like Zynga poured millions into Facebook advertising but as it got more popular, the rate prices increased and gaming brands could no longer afford to invest as much money into reaching new users.

Facebook and non gaming users got sick of spam

Ever noticed on your Facebook feed that you rarely get updates from games? Well, there’s a reason for that. When Facebook launched the news feed Developers made games where you’d win by asking your Facebook friends to help and constantly interrupt play to ask you to share something like “Can you milk my cow?” They thought it would bring in more players by promoting through the newsfeed, instead the game spam got so bad that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took a stand and stopped giving as many ads to non gamers. This is in turn, affected social gaming heavily because brands were no longer able to access a wider target.

Facebook percentage cuts got bigger

For years, gaming brands sold virtual goods on it’s Facebook desktop games. They were untaxed which was great for their profit margins. However, Facebook forced all developers onto it’s Virtual Currency Credits in July 2011 and took a 30% cut.

While Facebook games like Wonder Bingo never recovered. Hopefully future social gaming companies can monetize through other avenues and continue to connect the world through games.
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