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Published on October 20th, 2014 | by gareth


Whales Splash The Cash

Somewhere in the region of just one per cent of all mobile gamers — who are known as “whales” within the gaming business (we hope for their spending power rather than any resemblance to the Simpson’s Comic Book guy) spend almost 30 per cent of all the money spent on mobile gaming in the US.

This is one of the stand-out points from a recent survey of the industry in the US by Everyplay. This has massive implications for gaming providers which, no doubt, is why the research report was produced in the first place.

Everyplay is games producer Unity Technologies’ mobile-sharing division. And, as we all know, there’s an enormous scramble going on for market share in the mobile gaming industry. Industry analysts expect this market to double in size in the US from its current level of around to $17.5 billion to over $35.4 billion over the next three years alone! This is according to a separate report by the mobile game marketing outfit AppLift along with market research company Newzoo.

So everyone with a stake in the industry is desperate to know what the key drivers are for end-users. This applies to retailers, developers, advertisers, publishers, and marketeers. They want to get ahead of the curve in understanding what gamers are thinking, which way they’re going, who the leaders are – and how much people are prepared to spend in this are to get ahead of the competition.

With casino based mobile games, the competition is, if anything, even more fierce. Some providers like 888, skybet, 32Red and others are aggressively marketing their wares through increasingly generous introductory offers including straightforward “no strings” free cash. If you visit the 32Red mobile casino, for example, you’ll soon see that you get a first £10 completely free with no need to make a deposit; such is the scramble for our business.

This is rather like many other tech markets we’ve seen developing over the last 20-odd years now. And as Apple and Microsoft have shown us in the past – the only certainty is that there is no certainty! So you can bet your bottom dollar that industry forecasts and conventional expectations about mobile gaming will be confounded in one way or another.

Looking back, say, five years from now and the kind of projections the industry has been looking at will prove to have been wildly overly optimistic or perhaps vice-versa; who can really say?

But that isn’t the same thing as saying we shouldn’t be listening to them. Even if it’s guesswork, it is at least educated guesswork and all business people need to try to make provision for the future based on best-guess expectations today.

The Everyplay survey was based on a study of 3,000 mobile gamers in the US on both iOS and Android and devices. Everyplay operates by allowing mobile gamers to capture videos of their gameplay – and to then share them with friends to promote and sell them obviously. And part of the survey revealed that, not only do a tiny percentage of gamers spend all the cash, but that the main way these spenders find their new games is through word-of-mouth and video. The same survey also revealed that the big spending players are generally much more likely to take part in social sharing than other players. This includes stuff like telling friends about different games and/or inviting friends to play and rate games etc.

So what all this boils down to is that, for the time being, catching the whales first is the way to reel in all the minnows thereafter – who will then become as big as whales in their own right hopefully!

The trouble with this approach is that the industry is changing almost daily. So you just kind of “know” there’s something coming right around the corner that will change everything. Deciding what that is is quite another thing though.


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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