Is Social Gaming A Thing of the Past ?

Social gaming has been in the news lately. Social gaming is really nothing new and internet bingo operators have been using social media for years. On Facebook Buffalo Studio’s Bingo Blitz is still one of the most popular games on the site with millions of regular players. In the UK Facebook launched its first real money gaming app. Facebook is hoping that real money gaming will offset losses caused by turmoil in the social gaming industry. Game developer Zynga just announced the closure of three offices in Boston, the UK and Japan. Even worse Zynga has laid off 100 employees and more cuts are in the works.

Zynga executives had hoped that the news of Apple’s newest creation would draw attention from the game developer’s troubles. Unfortunately the news spread quickly via Twitter and Facebook. The announcement by Zynga CEO Marc Pincus comes just two days before Zynga is due to announce its third quarter figures. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is not pleased and told investors “Gaming on Facebook isn’t doing as well as I’d like.” Facebook’s gaming revenues for the past year have fallen 20%. Facebook’s overall performance has also taken a hit. Facebook revenues derived from payments and fees have fallen 9% during the last quarter. This is Facebook’s first major decline.

Zynga’s revenues have not lived up to expectations and players are leaving Zynga’s Facebook games in droves. Zuckerberg told investors that smaller game developers like Kixeye, Wooga, and King.com are gaining player numbers and are helping to offset the losses caused by Zynga. Facebook is also counting on real money gaming to offset falling stock prices on global exchanges. The volatility in the social gaming sector has some experts wondering if social gaming is only the latest fad.

Most in the gaming industry had high hopes for social gaming. Other companies are struggling to hold on to existing players and some are facing an uphill battle. For example the game titled ‘The Ville’ has seen player numbers go from an earlier peak of 26 million to just 17 million during the past month. Many experts predict growth in mobile gaming and applications. Several internet bingo operators offer mobile apps which have become popular with younger players. Are we witnessing the demise of social gaming? Only time will tell.