Tag Archive | "social networking"

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Is Social Gaming Just Another Fad ?

Many online bingo operators are having second thought about entering the world of social gaming. Recently social gaming giant Zynga cut over 100 jobs and closed offices in Boston, the UK and Japan. In Austin Zynga let two development teams go. Zynga has developed several popular Facebook games including Zynga poker, Zynga bingo and their flagship game Farmville. Facebook is starting to feel the pressure from Zynga’s troubles. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is not happy and told investors during a conference call “Gaming on Facebook isn’t doing as well as I’d like.” Zuckerberg told investors that most of the troubles have been caused by Zynga’s ongoing problems.

Since the company’s IPO earlier in the year Zynga shares continue to slip. Facebook’s revenues from gaming have declined 20% year on year. The current turmoil at Zynga has caused Facebook’s revenues from payments and fees declined 9% quarter on quarter to $176 million. This is the first major revenue decline for Facebook. Zynga’s revenues have fallen short of earlier estimates and players are leaving Zynga’s games in droves. One of Zynga’s most popular Facebook games, The Ville, has seen player numbers fall from 26million to 17 million. In the past Zynga has played a major role in Facebook’s performance. Zuckerberg did offer investors some hope when he said that smaller social game companies like Kixeye, Wooga, and King.com are garnering market share and are in part making up for the losses caused by Zynga’s troubles.

Zynga’s bad news was released at the same time Apple was introducing its new mini iPad. Zynga executives hoped investors would be distracted but the news quickly spread on Twitter and, ironically, Facebook. Most experts believe that Zynga’s third quarter results will show significant losses. Since Facebook is depending on real money gaming to shore up its waning stock prices Facebook executives are not going to be happy. Zynga’s bingo app has seen a monthly decline from 5.8 million to 5.4 million. Some gaming experts are now wondering if social gaming is just another fad that will fade with time. Others say that real money social gaming has a bright future.

The use of social media is nothing new to online bingo players and operators. Most online bingo brands use social networking pages to attract and retain players. Chat rooms have been a fixture at online bingo sites for years and have added to the popularity of the game. Only time will tell whether social gaming is just another internet fad.

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Double Down Adds Bingo Games

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Double Down Adds Bingo Games

International Game Technology has added bingo to the company’s Double Down casino on Facebook. IGT’s casino features a variety of casino style games. Currently DoubleDown Casino is the most popular social gaming application on the social networking site and has 5.2 million active monthly users. The addition of online bingo is expected to increase the user base for the casino. In Double Down’s new bingo game players are offered up to 12 carded plays per round. Other bingo sites are only offering four carded plays.

Players can customize their daubers and play games in themed bingo rooms. The bingo games offer three themed rooms titled Art Deco, Fashionista and High Orbit and others may be added later. The games offer speed controls to make the games accessible for different skill sets and players have the option to mark their cards manually or use the auto daub feature. Since the games are free they are a great place for those interested in learning the online version of the game.

Although the Facebook games are free IGT is expected to generate income from advertisements and the in-game sale of virtual goods sold in exchange for virtual currency. These are known as micro transactions. IGT’s DoubleDown Casino is linking the games to several brick and mortar casinos. Recently IGT made a deal with the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Last month IGT made a deal with Jacobs Entertainment. The popularity of the DoubleDown application is expected to enable IGT to generate revenue in the long run.

At nasdaq.com there is enthusiasm for the new IGT Facebook bingo game. A recent article stated “We believe that IGT stands to benefit significantly from the massive growth potential of social and mobile games over the long term. According to market research firm BI Intelligence, the U.S. social gaming market (including mobile games) is expected to more than double from approximately $2.0 billion in 2011 to approximately $5.5 billion by 2015.” The author also says that although IGT is a new player in the social gaming market the company’s strong game portfolio and large customer base will help the company to form strong partnerships that will give the company a competitive edge.

There are several bingo applications on Facebook including Zynga’s version of the game. It remains to be seen who will come out on top of the social bingo market.

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UK Bingo Operators Not Happy With Facebook’s New Bingo Games

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UK Bingo Operators Not Happy With Facebook’s New Bingo Games

With 800 users around the globe Facebook is the undisputed leader in social networking. For young people Facebook is an aspect of daily life and anyone can easily set up their own Facebook page. Facebook users can also play a variety of games on the site. In January when Facebook announced plans to launch real money bingo games on the site many online bingo operators saw the move as a serious threat. In fact, Facebook’s decision was a matter of grave concern for UK based online bingo operators. Many online gaming operators opposed the move saying it would encourage underage gambling but these claims were dismissed as hypocritical and blatant self-interest. Opponents of the underage gambling concerns say that since online bingo operators and other gaming sites advertise their services on Facebook the concerns are hypocritical.

Industry competition in the internet bingo industry is fierce and Facebook online bingo games could easily be seen as a major threat to the industry. In February social gaming giant Zynga announced the launch of their own version of bingo on Facebook. Zynga has had great success with Farmville and Zynga poker on Facebook. Until last year Facebook prohibited any advertisements for internet gambling services but has now reversed course. Currently online bingo operators outside of the United States may advertise their services on Facebook. Facebook guaranteed that gambling ads would only be shown to users over 18. Many online bingo operators were quick to take advantage of Facebook’s potential as a new advertising medium. When Facebook announced plans to offer their own bingo games many advertisers withdrew their ads on Facebook.

The online bingo industry has good cause to fear Facebook’s latest move. One senior executive at a major player in the online bingo industry pointed out the advantages Facebook has over its competitors. The unnamed executive pointed out that advertising online bingo services and products is very expensive and even after spending millions bingo operators cannot be sure they are reaching their targeted audiences. Statistics show that over 50% of the UK population has Facebook accounts and the site will be able to advertise their services to a wide audience at no cost to the company.

Gambling addiction experts are also unhappy with Facebook’s decision to offer real money gambling. Dr Robert Lefever, director of Promise Rehab Clinic says that the introduction of gambling on Facebook could lead impressionable and vulnerable children to believe that the games have the approval of Facebook.

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Survey Reveals The Importance of Social Networking

A recent survey by Virgin Games revealed some very interesting gambling statistics about online bingo players and their social lives. It has been well established that most online bingo players value social interaction and a sense of community. Generally bingo players are a gregarious lot and enjoy socializing during bingo games online. At land based bingo halls talking is taboo once the games begin and anyone foolish enough to talk during games will incur the wrath of other players. Players at bingo sites happily chat away during games using the chat feature available at most bingo sites.

The survey involved 627 players and showed that about 44% of all players at Virgin’s sites had made online friendships while playing online bingo. About 18% of these players arranged to meet in person and 22% of all respondents said they share personal and family issues with their online bingo friends. 34% said that playing bingo online had improved their social life and an amazing 695 said that online bingo had replaced playing at land based bingo halls. Out of the 627 surveyed four players said they had formed romantic relationships and one wedding between online players had been arranged.

Alan Thomas, the head of customer relations management at Virgin stated “When we put out this survey we really had no idea what to expect. We are genuinely thrilled that our customers get more than a bit of fun out of playing at Virgin Bingo – it seems a number of them have truly enriched their social lives through new friendships – and in one case a wedding! There is a lot of focus on the negative impact of online gaming, I think this demonstrates for a lot of people it provides a point of common interest and can bring something to people’s lives.”

One player shared how playing at bingo sites had enabled her to cope with taking care of her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease and how playing online bingo had helped her to deal with adversity. The unnamed player stated “Since I became completely dependent on family for outdoor transport (plus my husband needs 24 hour care he has Alzheimer’s disease) my life has taken on new meaning through my bingo friends. If I need to talk, whatever time of day or night, there is always someone there either online, Facebook or phone so I am in contact 24/7. Even with family close by they find it difficult to provide the conversation I need, and there is no communication with my husband – so my bingo friends provide that link. I could not survive if I couldn’t have a moan and a groan and of course the laughs. Then of course there is bingo itself – I used to go to landline clubs several times a week – now I log on and play whenever I want with the chance of winning some serious money (which I have a couple of times I’m pleased to say).”

It is clear that the ability to socialize is very important to most players at online bingo sites. For those that are homebound online bingo has been a blessing. The survey by Virgin revealed just how much players value their online friendships.

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Social Networking and Internet Bingo Marketing

Internet bingo companies have been quick to identify new trends and adopt new technologies. The increased use of computers has had a profound impact on society around the world. The internet is global in scope and enables people from different nations and cultures to communicate instantly for a very low cost. The increase in the use of social networking sites such as Facebook indicates that people are using these sites for a wide variety of activities. There are over 500,000,000 Facebook users and internet bingo companies have been quick to take advantage of the opportunities provided by social networking websites.

Bingo has always been a social game and bingo sites are doing everything possible to establish bingo ‘communities’ among online players. The ability to play bingo with friends has always been an important aspect of the game and many players value the social aspect more than winning. Many bingo companies originally started off as gaming portals offering players a few bingo games and little else. As broadband access increased and computers got faster bingo sites were able to add more interactive features such as chat rooms. Chat rooms were an instant hit with online bingo players and many improvements have been made since the first bingo chat room was launched. Bingo sites went to great lengths to make sure that the social needs of players were met.

Bingo sites added additional tools such as auto daub which eliminated the need for players to mark their bingo cards manually. Bingo sites were faced with the problem of how to expand their player base and attract and retain new players. Traditional advertising can be extremely expensive so many bingo sites turned to internet marketing techniques. Bingo companies searched for a platform where they could display their games and technologies to a wider audience. Facebook allowed bingo sites to do just that. Although Facebook has a strict no gambling policy many bingo sites set up fan pages and some bingo sites have developed individual Facebook bingo applications that provide players with free bingo.

Facebook pages offer bingo sites two major benefits. Facebook bingo pages allow bingo sites to showcase their games and bonuses and promotions offered to players. Players can play free games and then decide whether they want to log on to the bingo site and make a deposit and play for real cash. The second benefit is massive publicity. As has been mentioned Facebook has about a half billion regular users and many of these are potential online bingo players. Facebook is an inexpensive and efficient marketing tool for bingo sites.

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Casual Gaming Most Important Online Gaming Sector

Gaming research firm ‘Media & Entertainment Consulting Network’ has just released their new report titles Casual Gaming and Gambling on the Internet – 2nd Edition. A previous report pointed to the growing importance of casual players to the online gaming industry. Casual gaming online is well established and has been around for some time. Until now casual gaming has had a low profile but online gaming companies looking for new players have realized just how important casual players are to the online gaming industry.

Recently gaming giants 888 Holdings, PartyGaming and Playtech have invested heavily in the internet bingo sector. Several first quarter reports by several gaming companies underscore the fact that online bingo has been a driving force for increased revenues for several online gaming companies. In liberalized markets such as Italy casual players are the primary revenue-generating sector. In Italy internet bingo has been a big hit and thousands of new players have signed up at bingo sites throughout Italy.

For many online gaming companies the US market has been a tough nut to crack. Fantasy sports and skill gaming are strategies frequently used to enter legally restricted markets such as the United States. The recent seizure of several poker sites by the US government has sent severe shock waves through the online gaming industry. So far only poker sites have been targeted and bingo sites have been left alone-for now. Many gaming sites including some bingo sites are quietly withdrawing from the American market and are losing revenues as a result.

The report divides casual gaming into two categories; games where the outcome is based on luck such as online bingo games and games where the outcome is determined by skill and know- how like poker blackjack and other skill based games.  The report details how women are the key to casual gaming and contains a detailed analysis of the online bingo industry and the future of online bingo during the next five years. The importance of online communities and networks is discussed. Bingo operators have long known the importance of social interaction among players. At most bingo sites regular players have a sense of community aided by chat rooms and other social networking opportunities.

Media & Entertainment Consulting Network is one of the premiere sources for information and analysis of online gaming markets worldwide. The research firm has many valuable studies and reports available on their website. According to most reports the online bingo industry has a bright future ahead.

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Mobile Gaming Will Be Worth $54 Billion By 2015

A survey by research from Juniper said that by 2015 the mobile entertainment market will be worth $54 billion dollars and that mobile gambling, including online bingo, will be the fastest growing industry sector. Smart phones and other mobile devices are more common and the number of applications available is driving industry growth. The Juniper report said that the mobile entertainment market was worth $33 billion dollars in 2010. The combination of app stores and smart phones has created a high level of use of games, social networking, gambling, games, video and music.

Last year several bingo sites developed mobile applications for their online bingo games and other side games offered by most bingo sites. The move has been well received among players’ especially younger bingo players. Players appreciate the convenience offered by mobile bingo which enables them to play anywhere a signal can be received. Many bingo operators are investing heavily in new mobile applications and have realized the lucrative opportunities offered by mobile bingo. Other gaming companies have also taken notice of the surge in mobile gambling. Several top poker sites now offer mobile applications.

The author of the report Dr Windsor Holden stated “We’ve witnessed a quite dramatic evolution of the mobile entertainment market over the past few years, in terms of type of content, scale of content and how that content is monetized. The challenge for the players across the redefined mobile ecosystem is to recognise how best to leverage their strengths to ensure that their respective revenue streams are optimized.” The report goes on to state that the fastest growing sectors of the mobile entertainment industry will be gambling and social media. In spite of the collapse of the ringtone market mobile music will be the largest contributor to mobile entertainment revenues during the next five years.

Not everyone is happy about the success of the mobile gaming industry. In Australia the Bernard Finnegan, the South Australian Minister for Gambling, said that with online gambling coming more available that more young men are vulnerable to problem gambling. The government has launched an advertising campaign targeting men 18 to 34 years old to warn about the dangers of problem gambling. Finnegan stated “Often this [18 to 34] age group is unaware of their gambling problem or don’t know at what stage their gambling can become a problem.” Occasionally concerns about problem gambling have led to Orwellian laws and regulations in several countries. Hopefully Australia will refrain from implementing unnecessary regulations.

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Bingo for Seniors

Many seniors have played bingo for decades and some seniors are unable to attend live bingo games because of health or mobility issues.  Studies have shown that playing bingo is good for seniors in many ways. Playing bingo relieves the symptoms of depression, provides much needed exercise for the brain and in some cases can actually delay the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms. A recent study by the National Health Service in the UK clearly showed that playing bingo can reduce the length of a hospital stay. For many seniors that cannot attend live games internet bingo can be a good substitute. Many seniors have limited computer skills but fortunately these are easily learned. Internet bingo games are very user friendly and are one of the easiest online games to play.

There are many game sites designed specifically for seniors and pensioners. Most of these game sites offer players bingo in addition to other games. By playing games seniors can learn valuable computer skills that will enable them to play at commercial bingo sites. Best of all games at most bingo sites are very inexpensive and just about any senior on a pension or social security can afford to play at bingo sites. Games at bingo sites are available 24/7 and since many seniors have sleep disorders games at bingo sites can provide a measure of relief for insomniacs.

Having a social network is especially important to seniors. It has been clearly shown by several university studies that seniors with a strong social network live longer and are depressed less often. Most bingo sites have chat rooms where players can socialize during games. Seniors playing in chat room games can bond and make friends with a wide variety of players from around the world. For seniors who cannot attend games and events at a senior center online bingo can help them to stay connected to the outside world.

Online bingo sites provide players with an astounding variety of bonuses and player perks making the game very affordable. In addition most bingo sites offer free bingo and there are several bingo sites providing free online bingo for cash. Although most players do not get rich playing at bingo sites winning a game can be a real morale booster for senior bingo players. A quick Google search will reveal several websites specializing in providing games for senior citizens. All that is needed is an internet connection and a few dollars and seniors can enjoy hours of entertainment, socializing and fun.

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Bingo Sector Shows the Importance of Casual Gamblers

A recent report showed that in liberalized online gaming markets casual gamblers provide operators with the most revenue. Operators of online bingo sites have long known this and the rest of the online gaming industry is starting to realize the impact casual gamblers can have on gaming markets. A new study titled “Casual Gaming and Gambling on the Internet” shows that 85% of all online gaming operators will focus on casual gamblers this year. Operators seeking new revenue streams will most likely turn to gamblers found in social networking sites.

The report points out the heavy investment of gaming giants Party Gaming, 888, Playtech and others in online bingo sites where casual gamblers dominate. The heavy investments are an indicator of the importance of the casual gaming demographic. In the past most online gambling sites, except bingo sites, targeted hard core gamblers and high rollers and industry observers who have witnessed the astounding growth of the online bingo industry have taken notice of the importance of casual gamers who play internet bingo games.

The success of Zynga Poker is dominating industry discussions. The highly successful social gambling site has over 36 million active users and between 200,000 and 400,000 players at any time, significantly more than at the most popular poker rooms. Fantasy sports and skill gaming are viewed as a strategic tactic to enter restricted markets such as the United States which has strict online gambling restrictions. Online lottery and numbers games are seen as an untapped market for online operators. It has been estimated that the online lottery and numbers game market could generate $5.5 billion dollars in gross revenues by 2015.

The report’s co author Martin Oelbermann said that at present the lottery and numbers games are dominated by state operators but that could change very soon. Oelbermann stated, “Large private operators will soon discover online lotto and numbers games,” Oelbermann forecasts. “What started in 2009 with hefty investments in bingo will spread to lotto and numbers games – maybe already in 2011?. Gross revenues for both the retail and internet numbers game market are estimated at about $100 billion dollars.

The rapid growth of bingo sites has prompted the interest in casual gamblers. Internet bingo players generally play once in a while and gambling addiction is almost unknown. In addition bingo is seen as a ‘soft’ form of gambling which attracts the casual gambler. It would appear that once again the online bingo sector has pointed the way for the entire online gaming industry.

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