Social games are video games that are developed for the masses and for those who are not considered avid gamers. These games are easy to learn and do not require expertise in gaming skills. These games often act as a stress buster for students, working personnel, housewives, and others. Social games are played on smartphones, desktops, laptops, and tablets, among others. Unlike a console-based game where only two people are up against each other, social games provide a platform where multiple players can compete with each other.
The global Social Gaming market is estimated to account for US$ 17.40 Bn in terms of value by the end of 2019.
Market Dynamics- Drivers
- Increasing smartphone demand worldwide is expected to drive growth of the global social gaming market during the forecast period
The demand for smartphones has increased significantly in the recent past. Growing applications of smartphones are resulting in growing support for social gaming in the market. There are different operating systems used in smartphones including iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, and Windows, which enable users to carry out different tasks simultaneously. Different social games can be downloaded on these smartphones with the support of operating systems. The large memory capacity, ranging from 16 GB to 64 GB, allows several games to be stored on the phone. Therefore, these factors are expected to drive growth of the global social gaming market during the forecast period.
- Easy availability and free-to-play is expected to propel the global social gaming market growth over the forecast period
Most social games are available free of cost. The simple installation process of the games on smartphones and tablet PCs allows kids as well as the elderly to enjoy games without much difficulty. The mentality of players to compete with friends, family, and colleagues has increased the popularity of social gaming. It does not require setting up huge Xboxes or Playstation to play. All it requires is to log in and start playing. Furthermore, it can be accessed at different places such as schools, colleges, railway stations, and airports. Thus, these factors are expected to propel the global social gaming market growth over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific region held dominant position in the global social gaming market in 2019, accounting for 38.7% share in terms of value, followed by North America, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa (MEA) respectively.
Figure 1: Global Social Gaming Market Share (%), in terms of Value, By Region, 2019
Market Dynamics- Restraint
- Limitations on social networking sites are expected to restrain growth of the global social gaming market during the forecast period
Online games such as Texas Hold’em poker, Farmville, Candy Crush, and Criminal Case are largely played on social networking sites including MySpace, Facebook, and Google+. The ban on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter has caused huge losses to the market. Many Islamic countries such as Iran, Pakistan, and Indonesia have forbidden the use of social networking sites. This is considered a taboo in the Middle East countries as well. They have blocked such sites primarily for security reasons. Hence, these factors are expected to restrain growth of the global social gaming market during the forecast period.
- Concerns regarding addiction are expected to hinder the global social gaming market growth over the forecast period
There are concerns regarding getting addicted to these games. Many adolescent children are getting addicted to games. Addiction to games has shown many negative effects on the health of an individual including skin blisters, neck & elbow pain, wrist pain, sleep disorders, calluses, etc. Hence, these factors are expected to hamper the global social gaming market growth over the forecast period.
Social Gaming Market Report Coverage
||Market Size in 2019:
||USD 17.40 Bn
|Historical Data for:
||2017 to 2019
||2020 to 2027
|Forecast Period 2020 to 2027 CAGR:
||2027 Value Projection:
||USD 57.44 Bn
- North America: U.S., Canada
- Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Rest of Latin America
- Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, Rest of Europe
- Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, Rest of Asia Pacific
- Middle East and Africa: GCC Countries, South Africa, and Rest of Middle East and Africa
- By Segment: (Virtual Goods, Advertising, and Lead Generation / Offers)
- By Gender: (Male, and Female)
- By Age Group: (13 – 18 years, 19 – 25 years, 26 – 35 years, 36 – 45 years, and 46+ years)
Zynga, Inc., Wooga GmbH, Playtika Ltd., King, Tencent Holdings Ltd., Electronic Arts, Inc., Renren Inc., CrowdStar, Booyah Inc., and Social Point.
- Rapid growth in the number of internet subscribers
- Easy availability and free-to-play
|Restraints & Challenges:
- Ban on social networking sites
- Improvements related to browser experience can present lucrative growth opportunities in the global social gaming market
The social gaming industry is coming up with high-quality browser-based games. Companies are looking to launch richer and complex 3D social games. Adobe launched Flash Player beta that is expected to support accelerated 3D, while Unity launched Flash export capability. Social games can be installed easily on smartphones and tablet PCs. Most games are available free of cost. Hence, consumers are likely to use browser-based games that give almost the same thrill and experience as that of an Xbox or Playstation.
- Growing trend of cloud gaming can provide major business opportunities in the global social gaming market
Cloud gaming offers the option of instantly playing games on cloud servers without having to spend time downloading the game. Computers or consoles would no longer require higher processing power or graphical capabilities. Furthermore, cloud gaming will provide the liberty to play console or PC specific games on the tablet itself. Cloud gaming focuses on high-end games streamed to computers, TV, or micro consoles. It has recently been introduced in social gaming and brings live streaming of casual games. It allows free downloading, and the games can be played even on slow internet connections.
Figure 2: Global Social Gaming Market Value (US$ Bn), 2017 – 2027
The global social gaming market was valued at US$ 17.40 Bn in 2019 and is estimated to reach US$ 57.44 Mn by 2027 exhibiting a CAGR of 16.1% between 2020 and 2027.
- Increasing demand for smartphones and tablet PC is a key trend
Increasing demand for smartphones and tablet PCs is fueling the growth of social games globally. Mobile devices allow the games to be accessible 24*7. This is primarily supporting its growth across the segment. PCs and smartphones are typically used for social gaming since they offer easy accessibility and convenience for consumers.
- Social networking sites offering largest gaming platform
Social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Friendster are currently acting as the major platform for playing games, thus largely contributing to the growth of social games. Social networking platforms are far more convenient as compared to other platforms.
Value Chain Analysis
Social games developers often require funding from third parties for the development and production of games. Developers who have an idea but are short of funds often seek help from investors. Moreover, investing companies are often involved in the marketing of the product. This provides greater visibility to the games. Some of the major investing companies in the market are Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA), Microsoft and Activision. Depending on the potential of the games, the investing companies provide the required capital.
Major companies operating in the global social gaming market are Zynga, Inc., Wooga GmbH, Playtika Ltd., King, Tencent Holdings Ltd., Electronic Arts, Inc., Renren Inc., CrowdStar, Booyah Inc., and Social Point.
- For instance, in December 2018, Playtika Ltd. acquired Wooga GmbH, a casual game maker, for over US$ 100 Billion
- For instance, in August 2020, Electronic Arts, Inc. introduced EA Play and EA Play Pro with new look