US leads $1.7B worldwide social casino market, but October revenues are down

The booming social casino market hit a snag in October. The month saw an 8.5% drop in audience and a similar loss in revenue for social casino games, as the US shed $11.5MM and other key markets faltered. South Africa represented the only key market to maintain gains in audience, total revenues, and average revenue per paying user (ARPPU). As a major driver of change, Zynga Slingo’s loss of 15MM players in October forced the percentage of social gaming that is casino to drop from 32.6% to 31.0%.

Still, social casino kept pace with arcade and action genre games, even as bubble shooter and match-three games like Bubble Safari and Diamond Dash added over 20MM monthly active users (MAU) on Facebook. A bevy of events we attended last month—like the Social Gaming & Gambling Summit and Social Gambling Conference—proved the demand for more knowledge on the space as new players continue to enter it.

Many eyes look to Asia for the continued growth of the market. Revenues increased 28% this year, and they are expected to reach $5.0B for the continent by 2015. Spurring the impressive gains is Asia’s dominance of 50% of the worldwide social mobile gaming market, and the increasingly mobile nature of social casino games. Long favored in Japan and South Korea—led by developers GREE and DeNA—social mobile and mobile casino are beginning to take root in the vast markets of China and India. As the smartphone user base of China overtakes that of the rest of Asia, the country will account for 37.9% and $684MM of the social mobile games market by 2015E.

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