Caesars Interactive Entertainment, as a subsidiary of Caesar Entertainment, is part of the world’s largest gaming company. It has built its social gaming portfolio with studio acquisitions such as Playtika and Buffalo Studios as well as through partnerships with Microsoft and Electronic Arts. With these acquisitions, Eilers Research reports that Caesars now holds 18.6 percent of the overall social casino market in the second quarter.
[Editor's Note: This story was a recap of an interview InsideSocialGames.com had with Alan Avidan, Executive Director of Business Development at Bees and Pollen occurred on June 6,2013, during Day 1 of the Inside Social Apps Conference in San Francisco.]
Alan Avidan of Bees and Pollen is working on a new type of game play: predictive personalization. The idea stems from the fact that many players get frustrated when they get stuck. For beginners this might mean not clearing level one, where as for more experienced players, the breaking point might occur when they can no longer unlock certain features without using the virtual store.
Editor’s note: During the upcoming Inside Social Games Conference on June 6-7, Bret Terrill, the Founder of 12gigs.com, will be moderating two panels on the future of social apps, “Gambling Games: The Promise of Real Money,” and “Platform Opportunities for Social Apps.” InsideSocialGames.com had the opportunity to ask Bret two important questions on the future of social and mobile games.
Bret Terrill: A cross-platform gaming network is something that a lot of people were chasing last year as the next big thing. The idea was: Similar to Facebook owning the social graph, a company could own the “gamer graph”, connecting people who liked certain genres across platforms and games. As it stands today, Facebook is really the only company that has been successful in creating a cross-platform (PC and multiple mobile environments) gaming network , one that has largely fed off their immense social network.
Other large games companies, such as DeNA and Gree, have had success in the Japanese market, but they have moved toward a publisher model in the last year. It is an open question on whether Clash of Clans players care about what other games the people they “friend” within the game are playing. I suspect the gameing industry itself cares much more than the players, who are more interested to see what is in the top charts of their phone’s App Store.
Zynga today held its annual stockholders meeting in San Francisco, which heavily focused on the game company’s real-money gaming efforts, an anonymous shareholder told PandoDaily.
Zynga’s shareholder meeting comes one day after the company just laid off 18 percent of its staff (520 employees) and shut down three of its offices — Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York — including Omgpop‘s office. (more…)
Jawfish Poker is an iOS release from Jawfish Games. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and carries additional in-app purchases.
There are a ton of poker games on the market, and few manage to stand out. For every successful poker app, there’s a handful that follow the same formula and fail to pick up any momentum. The lack of diversity found in poker games creates an opening for games that are able to follow the basic concept of poker, but add its own spin. Jawfish Poker is a wonderful example of taking a popular idea, making a tiny change, and feeling a major impact.
Jawfish Poker is based around Texas Hold’em. Players are each given two cards, five cards are placed in the middle, and whoever can make the best five-card poker hand will win the round. Jawfish Poker takes that popular idea, and makes a change to one of the biggest parts of the game — betting. Real poker features a level of competitive betting every time new hands are dealt and new cards are shown. Jawfish Poker removes the deep level of strategy that comes from large groups and frequent betting. Instead, the system is based around one-on-one matchups where players get two choices: fold or go all-in. Serious poker enthusiasts may find this setup to be odd or downright childish, but casual fans who crave fast-paced gameplay may find exactly what their looking for.
There are two main modes to Jawfish Poker: Tournaments and King of the Hill. Tournaments are a series of head-to-head hands where players bet all or nothing and the last remaining competitor wins. There are three entry fee levels for tournaments, using in-game gold. The more gold players pay up front, the larger the prize pool is. Players who want to fight for the largest possible prize will be more interested in King of the Hill. This mode works similar to tournaments, but players can enter with various amounts of gold. The goal in King of the Hill is to continuously earn gold and battle to the top of the leaderboard in order to win the jackpot once the timer runs out. Competition is fierce in King of the Hill and users with large amounts of gold have a distinct advantage, but wisely playing the odds gives everyone a fair shot. (more…)
SlotoLotto Slot Machines is a new Facebook game from Peak Games. It’s available now for anyone to play on the social network, and is currently featured on the front page of App Center.
SlotoLotto Slot Machines is a very conventional slot machine simulation that allows players to compete on a selection of 18 different virtual machines, though only one is available to begin with. The game opens with a completely unnecessary tutorial that simply points out things like the “spin” button and doesn’t really explain how the machine itself works — a simple help screen pointing out interface elements would have been better and got players into the game quicker.
Once past the initial tutorial, which is mercifully short, gameplay takes the form of some very straightforward multi-line slot machines. Players gain experience points for each spin, with more experience gained for larger bets. Leveling up sometimes unlocks new machines, and these later machines tend to offer a combination of more possible win lines and larger allowed bets per line. Leveling up also rewards the player with virtual currency bonuses — though as usual, virtual currency may also be purchased and acquired in small quantities through a regular timed bonus mechanic that counts down in the corner of the screen.
Social-mobile gaming developer Digital Chocolate today launched its first real-money gaming title Slots! Pocket UK for iOS in the U.K.
Powered by real-money gaming platform Betable, Slots! Pocket UK is a slots game that allows U.K. users the option to wager either real money or virtual currency and chips on pulls of the slot machine. Betable first announced its partnership with Digital Chocolate back in November 2012. Digital Chocolate is one of 10 developers so far to partner with Betable for its real-money gaming platform, which is still a private beta program. Betable handles all the real-money aspects of the game on the backend, including compliance, fraud prevention, identity checks, wagering, and gambling results, while Digital Chocolate can focus on the development of the actual game. In order for players to gamble with real money, they must be authenticated with Betable by signing up, depositing money, and more.
“[Betable] helped us leapfrog the whole race into real-money gaming by allowing us to partner with them on their platform, and of course, they have the license in the U.K. to do real-money gaming,” Jason Loia, chief operating officer of Digital Chocolate, told Inside Mobile Apps.
Continue reading on Inside Mobile Apps.
Zynga Plus Poker is a new real-money gaming service from the social gaming giant. At present, it is available in the U.K. — its availability in other territories will depend on local laws relating to online gambling. Zynga Plus Poker is one of two real-money gaming services that the company has launched recently — the other being Zynga Plus Casino, which we explored yesterday.
Like Zynga Plus Casino, Zynga Plus Poker is playable both via a dedicated client app that is available for both Windows and Mac machines, and via the Web in a Java-based “Instant Play” pop-up window. There are currently a few issues when attempting to run the Web-based version of Zynga Plus Poker in certain browsers such as Chrome on the Mac, but Safari and Firefox offer a more reliable experience, and Zynga is aware of the problems. Players are pushed very strongly in the direction of the downloadable client from the service’s front page.
As with Zynga Plus Casino, Zynga Plus Poker requires players to sign up for a proprietary account in order to play — though if they already have an account for Zynga Plus Casino, this may be used for Zynga Plus Poker and vice versa. Any balance that the player has in their account can be shared between the two games, though at the time of writing I encountered some issues where all of my real-money balance was regarded as “restricted” and thus it did not appear to be possible to bring it into real-money games. It’s not clear whether this is a problem with the service or if there are some prerequisites that I have not met, and the help function in the app itself does not do a very good job of explaining what a “restricted” balance is or why it is restricted.
Zynga Plus Casino is a new real-money gaming service from the social gaming giant. At present, it is available in the U.K. — its availability in other territories will depend on local laws relating to online gambling. Zynga Plus Casino is one of two real-money gaming services that the company has launched recently — the other being Zynga Plus Poker, which we’ll take a closer look at tomorrow.
Zynga Plus Casino may be accessed either via the Web or a dedicated downloadable piece of client software. The Web version does not work correctly on Mac OS X-based devices, failing to recognize when the user is logged in, and the downloadable client is only available for Windows-based computers at this time — so either way, Mac users are out of luck at present.
A Zynga Plus Casino account may be used in Zynga Plus Poker and vice-versa, so it’s only necessary for the player to create one account. In order to do so, they must provide their personal details, including their name, address and date of birth. There’s no apparent means of identity-checking in place to verify the user’s age aside from the birthdate selector — gamblers in the U.K. must be at least 18 years of age in order to play. There’s also no means of registering for an account with Facebook or other social networks — the Zynga Plus services use their own proprietary accounts.
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