Social not just for millennials, says panel

Social not just for millennials, says panel

Thursday, October 20, 2016 Posted by Totally Gaming
EiG tackles the growth of social gaming

Social gaming is not synonymous with millennials and just by creating a social game doesn’t mean you are necessarily going to hit that demographic according to panellists talking about social gaming at EiG this week.

Lloyd Melnick, currently head of social gaming at PokerStars said that previously he was Zynga when it was looking at creating slot games. “Our target demographic for games was 50-plus females,” he pointed out. “That’s not millennials, it’s the exact same demographic as you have with real-money gambling. Just by creating a social game doesn’t mean you are going to appeal to a millennial.”

He added that people who spent a lot of money on social games was exactly the same type of people in real-money gambling. “People who like the game mechanics of slots in real-money gambling are the same people who like those mechanics in social,” Melnick added. “From a consumer experience, I’m going to have to provide exactly the same experience for both.”

Aman Kumra, the industry manager for social gaming at Google, said that real-money gambling had a lot to learn from social gaming, and that real-money gambling was a generation behind.

Melnick said that a note of caution had to be added about convergence and mixing and matching the player base. “One risk you face, because you are not regulated in the social space, you have to be careful about running them together.”

The obvious difference between social and real-money gambling is one of cost of acquisition. “There’s about a 10 times differential,” said Kumra.

Asked whether PokerStars would be able to compete against the big dominant social players, Melnick said that in the last few years there had been companies come out of nowhere and become top 10 players. He namechecked Aristocrat, which has recently established itself through acquisition.

“We are branching out from poker,” he said. “We are looking to both expand poker and branch out from poker. We are launching a single player poker game on an app within weeks.”

Totally Gaming says: The dynamics of social gaming are still in the process of being understood even as the market grows and matures. It is interesting, nonetheless, that the assumed match-up between millennials and social gaming is something of a myth, and this holds lessons that can be translated to eSports and other activities and innovations.

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