Games on Social Networks Like Facebook Forecast to Reach $7.5 Billion by 2016
March 20, 2012
The global market for free-to-play PC games on browsers and social networks is expected to grow from $3.2 billion in 2011 to $7.5 billion in 2016, according to a new report from DFC Intelligence. The report notes that the largest portion of that revenue will be generated by consumers paying for consumable virtual goods.
The report also stresses that one key to success going forward is developing a community or network of users to which a wide variety of free-to-play (F2P) products can be delivered. In the U.S., the biggest example of this is Zynga’s delivery of games across the Facebook social network. “While the global F2P market is quite diverse, Zynga and Facebook have dominated the market in the U.S.,” says David Cole, founder and President of DFC Intelligence. “Despite major investments in the browser and social network games space from companies such as Electronic Arts and the Walt Disney Company, Zynga has only increased its dominance of the Facebook game market in the past year.”
The story on a global level is different. In Europe, companies such as Bigpoint in Germany have built their own social networks for games and have been able to attract hundreds of millions of users outside of Facebook. There have also been some success stories such as Wooga, which have done well by targeting international Facebook users. “Outside the U.S., the market for games on just Facebook has not yet reached saturation and there are some major growth opportunities,” said Cole. “However, clearly one of the biggest opportunities is reaching users in other social networks and companies creating their own network, as Zynga is looking to do with the Zynga Platform.”
The report cautions that the market has quickly become saturated with too many similar â€˜copycatâ€™ products and there is the danger of overall consumer fatigue. “Browser and social network games are targeting an audience that, by and large, does not pay for the product,” said Cole. “The fact that many of these free products show a rapid drop off in usage shortly after release is a concerning trend.” Added Jess Mulligan, a leading online game business consultant, â€œBrowser and social network game publishers have been offering many â€˜me, tooâ€™ products and players are trying them and leaving them faster. To increase retention rates among paying players, especially on social networks, publishers need to offer something different and that means development budgets are going to rise.â€
The 180 page report is entitled The Market for Browser and Social Network Games. The report looks at how the market in North American and Europe has evolved since the 1990s and contains complete five-year global forecasts by region, platform and business model. There is in-depth analysis of key issues and trends, as well as a complete look at business models and how they vary by type of product. Finally there are profiles of major companies in the North America and Europe market including Facebook, Gameforge, Jagex, Zynga, Wooga, Sulake, Disney and others. The report was co-written by DFC Intelligence and veteran online game developer and consultant Jess Mulligan.