Over the last couple of years, companies such as Zynga have brought about a new era of social gaming on PCs and mobile devices. Now Zynga is considering ways of entering the world of internet gambling, and in the meantime online casinos have started considering how to make themselves more social.
International Game Technology (IGT), the Las Vegas based provider of casino games, started by purchasing Double Down Interactive for $500 million. Double Down Interactive developed Facebook gambling games that didn’t involve real money, instead they used a virtual currency.
However, the CEO of IGT, Patti Hart, has said that real-money social gaming is “going to come eventually.” If online gambling becomes legal in the US then social game creators could become part of the $30 billion online gambling business.
However, IGT has many competitors, not just Zynga. Caesars Entertianment has begun to look into online gambling as have the casino operator MGM, further more EA’s PopCap unit have recently launched a slot game.
Social gaming is already a huge business, this year it is expected that $2.9 billion will be spent on virtual goods up from $2.2 billion last year. These figures don’t include revenue from online advertising so profits are likely to be considerably higher.
At present Double Down has over five million active monthly users and is the third most popular casino game creator on Facebook after Zynga and Playtika. IGT will be able to add their library of hundreds of casino games to the Double Down casino which can be accessed via iPhone, iPad, Facebook and PCs. They have kicked off by launching games for Double Down based on the American Idol TV show and Brady Bunch movie.
The world of social casino gaming looks as though it is ready to explode and no doubt it won’t be long before high-quality social casino games appear at all your favourite online casinos.