The Rise and Pivot of Social Gaming

Posted in: Sector and Company Insights, Facebook, candy crush, farmville, king.com, social gaming, zynga

Social Gaming

As users increasingly move to Facebook on mobile, the largest social gaming companies are rethinking their strategy. Did the social gaming bubble burst?

In the late 2000's the buzz surrounding social gaming came after Zynga's Facebook based home-run game, Farmville. In recent years however, the momentum for Facebook gaming has declined, due to more users accessing the site via mobile (according to GamaSutra). Additionally, "the platform has become more difficult and more costly to develop for, at the same time that the perceived opportunity has waned," says game designer Scott Jon Siegel. "At the same time, I think that trust in the Facebook platform from a user perspective is probably at an all-time low". Game companies have followed suit, porting many of their 'Facebook only' games to app versions or creating new mobile-only games.

In this post, we've pinpointed the current leaders in the social gaming space, with an additional 300+ listed in our public DataFox watchlist:

Mobile Gaming

King.com

In the last year we’ve seen a shakeup in the social gaming space. King.com has dethroned long-time social gaming leader Zynga.  According to VentureBeat, “Zynga said it has 52 million daily active users of its social games on Facebook, Zynga.com, and mobile devices. London-based King says it now has more than 66 million daily active users.” King is a worldwide leader in casual games, with more than 30 billion games played per month globally.Their top title to date, Candy Crush Saga, is one of the largest interactive entertainment franchises of all time.

In March of 2014, King IPO’d but the stock has remained relatively flat.

The history of King infographic (from King.com):

King.com Infographic

Zynga

Zynga (based in San Francisco) pioneered the social gaming industry with the overwhelming successful launch of Farmville on Facebook in 2009. Zynga followed up with additional popular games including Draw Something, Words With Friends, Café World, The Pioneer Trail and Mafia Wars. Zynga's games are available on a number of global platforms including Facebook, Zynga.com, Google+, Tencent, Apple iOS and Google Android.

Zynga IPO’d in December of 2011, but the stock quickly took a down turn. A recent TechCrunch post states that “After a flurry of activity and a small pop on opening day, Zynga’s shares declined 75% in the year after it listed. Popping at $11 per share on its debut day in 2011, Zynga’s shares are currently bobbing along at just under $5."

Zynga and King.com

Wooga

Wooga Jelly Splash

Next up is Wooga, a 5-year-old company based in Berlin that has been making major inroads in the last 12 months, moving from Facebook based games to mobile. According to VentureBeat, “Now 70 percent of the company’s revenues come from mobile, and revenues are double what they were a year ago.” Founded in 2009 by Jens Begemann (CEO) and Philipp Moeser (CTO), Wooga has an international workforce of over 250 employees.  Developer of hit social games such as Jelly SmashDiamond Dash, Bubble Island & Monster World, Wooga has more than 50 million monthly active users on web and mobile (from Tech.eu).

Social Point

Finally we take a look at Social Point from Barcelona. According to TechCrunch, the Catalan studio looks to breakthrough the $100 million revenue threshold this year. Social Point began creating free online games for Facebook in 2008. Today the company is the 3rd largest game developer on Facebook, with a reach of more than 50 million players/month worldwide.