Despite many hits in the genre, social gaming is a relatively risky business. A company can have a hit one day and then the next day it’s suddenly worth nothing as bored users flee en masse. OMGPOP’s Draw Something is a textbook example of how a social game rose to popularity literally overnight and then became the anchor to Zynga’s (ZNGA) sinking ship. Audience management firm Playnomics released some interesting data on social gaming that reveals the major nail in the coffin for most social games: 85% of social gamers do not return after their first day.
Playnomics’ study of millions of U.S. social gamers in the third quarter of 2012 also reveals that “almost 95% of all US players acquired in the first part of Q3 were inactive by the end of Q3” and “US females churn at slightly higher rates than US males but tend to play longer before doing so.” Comparatively, women play an average of 4.5 days before they bounce for good versus the the four days men play before quitting a game.
The study also reveals that most social gamers play the longest on Mondays and are more likely to play on Saturdays. Surprisingly, Oregon has the most engaged segment of social gamers in the U.S. For more interesting data, you can check out Playnomics’ entire report here.
So is social gaming dead or not? It’s still hard to tell. Some reports peg it as becoming the primary model for the gaming business moving forward and some reports like this one paint an ominous future. One conclusion that can be drawn is that for social games to succeed, they need to find ways to keep players coming back for more. The games need to go beyond a simple act of gameplay that’s initially exciting but quickly becomes dull and repetitive.
Image credit: Jimmy Li/FarmvilleFreak