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Social and Mobile gaming continuing decline

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Candy crush help

Remember when Facebook games were killing “real gaming” and mobile was going to take over the world? Well, Zynga has zyngone, and even King isn’t on top anymore. People are still spending on digital games, but the social and mobile sectors are shrinking rapidly. Can Candy survive the Crush?

Data from SuperData has hit my inbox and gives the crazy news that mobile games show a decline for the fourth month in a row, dropping 6% month-over-month. SuperData CEO, Joost van Dreunen, believes that this is a sign of market saturation; game publishers will have to change their strategies to be successful in the maturing mobile market.

With $245 million in total revenues in April, the US mobile games market is showing signs of saturation. Already publishers have had to step up their marketing efforts, as the cost of user acquisition continues to rise. Meanwhile the average monthly spend for a US mobile gamer, which was $1.07 in April, has held steady since the beginning of this year. And so the current market conditions force publishers of all sizes to–in addition to making great games of course!–also develop a suitable market strategy.

Most interesting, it appears that going global is the best approach these companies can take. Many Western publishers are pushing their titles into Latin America and Asia – King has partnered with Tencent to bring Candy Crush Saga to China while Asian giant Shanda has repeated its intention to launch hit Eastern games in the West. Of course, localization will be a big deal in this regard – games have to have an appeal, and be accessible, to alternative audiences.

As sad as I am to hear about a decline in any part of the gaming industry, it does make me a little glad to see that the movement towards social and mobile games is subsiding. People will still play all kinds of games on all kinds of devices. However, hopefully we will a mature mobile market offering better, deeper games that can appeal to all audiences without alienating more seasoned gamers with the free-to-play or pay-to-win monetization models.

Last Updated: May 15, 2014


  1. Brenz

    May 15, 2014 at 20:09

    This is the best news of the week so far.
    I look forward to the industry shifting back to the old model, all this pay to win and microtransaction bullshit makes me sick.
    Just release a full game, charge a reasonable fee for the full game, play and enjoy, end of story, see you next time.


    • Admiral Chief in Space

      May 16, 2014 at 08:02

      “Just release a full game, charge a reasonable fee for the full game, play and enjoy, end of story, see you next time”

      So much win right here!


    • derp

      May 16, 2014 at 10:12

      I would also like to see games that do not require multi-GB patches.


      • Mark Vincer

        May 16, 2014 at 12:21

        Hilariously, most mobile games (good ones at least) require an ADDITIONAL download once you’ve downloaded and installed. So, for cheapies like me who download at work then sideload, it throws a spanner in the works when I get home and still need to download an extra 50MB. I’m trying to save data, dammit!


  2. Alien Emperor Trevor

    May 15, 2014 at 21:00

    So first the Xbone was a mess (but getting better, relax Xbots), Zynga is falling, where should we deploy Don “The Jacketed Destroyer” Mattrick next?


    • Mark Treloar

      May 15, 2014 at 21:24



      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        May 16, 2014 at 08:00

        Good thinking. – * – = + 😀


    • Hammersteyn

      May 16, 2014 at 07:39

      XBOX has made the right decisions in the mind of gamers which is costing them money so maybe they hire him back?


      • CAE9872

        May 16, 2014 at 08:45



        • Hammersteyn

          May 16, 2014 at 09:12

          So Evil


  3. Kromas

    May 16, 2014 at 06:54

    I am going to design Planetville for Facebook and spam it with ME stuff. That way I get more casual gamers addicted to the pure cocaine that is Mass Effect.


    • Admiral Chief in Space

      May 16, 2014 at 08:01

      Sounds good


  4. Hammersteyn

    May 16, 2014 at 07:37

    But I just started crushing candies 🙁


  5. Ottokie

    May 16, 2014 at 08:11

    Now they can start focusing on some real games.


  6. CAE9872

    May 16, 2014 at 08:45

    So much for mobile sounding the death knell of consoles!


  7. CypherGate

    May 16, 2014 at 11:33

    I knew for quite a while this would happen. I noticed that I dont finish most my games anymore. Apart from work taking up half my life and actually trying to have a life in the process… I just feel quite burnt out with all the games coming out and that i cant get to play and when i do, I dont end up finishing it cause im either way too tired to play when im done with work, studies and life or i just feel there so many games out that i dont know where to look lol I think its the same with all these casual gamers. They all burnt out with constant new games coming in.


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