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Is It Too Late for Smaller Developers on Facebook?
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Is It Too Late for Smaller Developers on Facebook?

December 19, 2012 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

Analysis of sub-genres

Let's dig deeper to further explore opportunities, for example, the gambling & casino genre. Our goal is to uncover opportunities where we believe we can compete and be successful. We now need to examine the underlying composition of our targeted genre to learn what types of games are most popular, where our competition is concentrated, and what game types are under-represented on the Facebook platform.

The gambling & casino genre is comprised of multiple sub-genres, including popular categories such as slots, casino, poker and bingo.

The category 'Other' includes hybrid game styles that draw inspiration from multiple gambling categories such as Slingo (Slots and Bingo).

We can see that poker is the largest sub-genre within gambling-themed games overall. With this understanding, we could look toward popular forms of gaming that might be currently under-represented on Facebook.

One example in the gambling & casino genre could be social betting apps. While gambling games like sports-betting are immensely popular in offline channels and traditional online gambling channels, this category has yet to truly take off on Facebook.

Data suggests the secret sauce for social betting apps has not yet been successfully cracked on Facebook. Cracking the code for how to make a successful social betting app could pay big dividends.

We know it's massively popular elsewhere in the world, as the global online interactive betting market was valued at 10.67 billion euros in 2011. This figure is over twice that of interactive casino according to H2 Gambling Capital.

Market Concentration Ratios

At we look at competition within specific genres to gain insight into which areas of the Facebook ecosystem are most saturated and, more importantly, where exploitable opportunities may exist.

Click for larger version.

One analysis technique we can use to assess the competitive landscape is an assessment of market concentration levels. Market concentration reflects the degree of saturation within a specific market. The chart below provides an analysis of the market concentration for six popular game genres as an example, with higher points corresponding to more saturated markets. Simulation is the most saturated game genre, with a "very high" market concentration level. At the other end of the spectrum, adventure and strategy has a "low" market concentration level. The puzzle genre ranks fourth, with a "moderate" rating.

A genre with a lower market concentration ratio paired with high average user engagement, promising growth rates and/or demonstrated popularity off of Facebook could present a strong early indicator for an opportunity. Recognizing the emerging trend that social gamers and gambling shared a similar DNA paid off in a big way for companies like DoubleDown Interactive.

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Tamar Curry
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One more way to make your game successful: Make. It. Fun.

Ramin Shokrizade
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The barrier to entry has always been low on Facebook, because the production qualities have always been low. Production quality has not changed all that much over the last four years. What has changed is the cost to market your product on FB. This was what made it so easy for Zynga to get in and expand in their early years. Now that FB charges appropriately for marketing in their space, and there is abundant competition lured in by Zynga's success prior to that time, getting your product under the nose of consumers is quite the challenge on FB. Zynga still has a huge advantage here with their market share but seems unable (at least so far) to take advantage of this with higher quality product offerings that would be difficult for the competition to replicate.

There is still great room for growth on FB, primarily because the quality of what is on FB now is still so low that existing products are vulnerable to competition from a good design. That growth is not likely to come from small fish, however, as replicating existing products and business models on FB will not gather the attention of consumers. Making a unique and high quality offering will not be cheap, though can still be done for a fraction of what a typical "AAA" product can cost to bring to market. Some big fish, such as EA, have attempted to enter the space with bigger budgets, but have failed due to employing derivative game designs and outdated business models.

Logan Foster
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One massive problem with Facebook gaming that is a huge barrier is what the 800lbs Gorillas are willing to pay to acquire users. Over the past year we saw a lot of the big names on this platform crush their competition simply because they were willing to come in and pay large sums of cash to buy premium advertising to entice users into their games, so much so that they drove a lot of small and mid-sized players off of the Facebook platform (FYI this is a problem that we are now seeing on mobile as these same large players try to push their way onto that platform and pay updwards of $8 for click thru install for advertising).

Yes you can always succeed by making a great product, but IMO the foundation of Facebook (and mobile) with discoverability is so flawed that the market is closing, not opening, to developers to succeed with their creative game ideas.

Bisse Mayrakoira
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First time I hear anyone refer to cow clickers as "simulation".

Isn't there room for well-crafted experiences which make their money from selling actual content instead of pay-to-win or pay-to-remove-frustration - "games on Facebook" instead of "Facebook games"? Design optimized for non-whales? Short games which people come back to replay and recommend to friends because they liked it so much, instead of forced "retention"?

Serge Versille
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There is actually a company called pretty simple games that has made a great game in the hidden object genre, with everything coming together very well: story, art, gameplay, and tech (almost no loading times, and no sharing screens clutter). It's come out about a month ago and they're getting close to 200k DAUs, with an exponential rate of growth. They didn't do any ads at this point, but instead focused on delivering quality so that the new players would come back and in time invite their friends. Here's a more in-depth look:

Bruno Xavier
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I'm look at another chart right now where out of the top 20 games, 11 are zynga's shits.
This article can't really convince me there is a place for niche games on facebook.