Last week, some of the heavyweights of the online gaming world came together in San Francisco, at the newly-launched Social Casino Summit.
This not only offered networking opportunities, but also the chance to discuss strategies such as how to optimise player acquisition and improve retention rates, examine emerging markets and study player trends, to help improve game development and marketing tools.
One debate in particular concentrated on the blurred lines between social casino games, where players purchase virtual chips with real money but cannot cash money out and online gambling, where players wager, lose and win real cash. Those who were privy to these discussions included representatives from IGT’s DoubleDown, PKR, Bash Gaming, Plumbee, Social Gaming Network and RockYou. When asked if they thought social gaming should be regulated, there was a discernible difference of opinion.
Jez San the founder of PKR, for example, said that many of the issues raised around real-money social games could be addressed by the industry, without the need for regulation, simply by taking more social responsibility. Raf Keustermans CEO of Plumbee, on the other hand, totally disagreed, saying that game developers only have a duty to deliver a “fun experience” for players and not “create something which is 100% the same as the real-money gambling experience”.
So, for the time being, it looks like the great debate about social casino games will continue…