With the recently social gaming app released on Facebook, Bingo Friendzy, it’s apparent again that the egaming sector is again innovating on what we in the agency scene know as ‘emerging platforms’. Bingo Friendzy is a joint venture between Gamesys and Facebook, which was worth noting relatively quiet in its release on Facebook. The game is the first of its kind in that it is the first real-money gaming product on Facebook. Being a joint venture between Facebook and Gamesys, the former has surely put a lot of thought into how this venture into the gaming and gambling arena will be looked upon by the media and its user-base. Having worked with egaming industry brands on Facebook and personal devices, I feel it’s appropriate that I look at the opportunities and perils in a real-money product in what can be termed as the social gaming sector.
If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd most populated
One of the key opportunities I see with a real-money gaming product in the gaming sector is to consider that Facebook has thrown it’s might behind this venture as a joint partner. With Facebook having such a large user-base for gaming firms to work with, a real-money gaming product executed correctly has massive potential for returns. Tapping into such a large user based on this platform is something that all gaming firms will be looking at and how the Bingo Friendzy product performs. With the ever-increasing recognition of the importance of social in the gaming industry and willingness for firms within this industry to embrace social (think Rank Group’s Mecca Bingo Facebook social centric kiosk in their bingo halls), such firms will be keen to enter the social gaming sector on Facebook. A massive unknown though is how Facebook will warm to other firms looking to develop real-money gaming apps on their platform.
Product differentiation in digital in the gaming sector
As typical with any industry type analysis, I can talk about the intense competition that exists in the gaming sector – the Paddy Powers, Betfairs, Rank Interactives, Bet365s, Ladbrokes’, William Hills are all jostling for position as the top dog. These companies have been recognised as being as some of the most embracing of emerging digital platforms and innovating with their products. With such competition of products in digital -on desktop, mobile, in-store apps, tablet – gaming firms are always looking to differentiate. With Bingo Friendzy’s emergence the opportunity to differentiate with social-centric products and platforms is an opportunity that gaming firms will be keen to capitalise on.
Public impression of different gaming products and firms
The success of Bingo Friendzy, and the social gaming sector on Facebook, will be determined by the media and more so the consumers. There is something to be said around public perception around different forms gaming and gambling – bingo, poker, lottery, casinos, sports betting and how these would translate to a social gaming app on Facebook. There is also something to be said around the public perception of different gaming and gambling firms and how they would be perceived in developing an app on Facebook. For example, Ladbrokes and Zynga both have varying forms of public perception – one could be seen as a proponent of harder form of gambling whilst the other perceived as a successful online start-up story associated with the Facebook-generation. Both will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on how Bingo Friendzy will perform and how they could develop similar strong revenue producing products. How such firms will be perceived by consumers and the media and which form of gaming and gambling they choose to develop an app for on Facebook will be a key dynamic of how the social gaming sector develops.
Industries are looking to embrace the latest technologies with a social twist and the egaming sector is no different. It will be interesting to see how Facebook will warm to real-money gaming products. Regulation, consumer and media perception, Facebook’s stance on the matter, Facebook’s role in people’s lives, dynamics in different markets, and a gaming brands strategy for this space will all play a factor in how the opportunities and perils will unfold in this emerging digital channel.