The market for Facebook games targeting hardcore gamers just might increase fivefold by 2013.
The total current market, including strategy games from Kabam (Kings of Camelot, Dragons of Atlantis) and Casual Collective (such as Backyard Monsters and the upcoming Battle Pirates) represents about 20 million Facebook gamers. Two years from now, however, that total might become 100 million.
Hardcore gamers are already on Facebook for personal and professional reasons and might not have embraced games on the site, because they’re not excited by the casual game offerings.
We “just need to make games they’re not embarrassed to play,” Casual Collective Chief Executive Officer Will Harbin said. This is not to say such gamers are going to abandon their Xbox 360s. Rather, “as quality of the content increases… we’ll see a lot of growth in the male gaming market.”
Gamers at work or school who can’t access their consoles and high-end PCs will steadily gravitate toward Facebook games catering to the hardcore players.
While Backyard Monsters has a low user base relative to top games like Zynga’s CityVille (4 million to 98 million), Harbin argues that the Facebook games aimed at the hardcore gamer audience monetize far better.
Young males are consistently more likely to spend the most for their gaming experiences. “Our games do not monetize as well as Kabam but they monetize a hell of a lot better than Zynga,” as he put it. By example, he noted that in the days after Casual Collective announced a new upgrade to a Backyard Monsters weapon, revenue surged by $30,000 a day.
In any case, Harbin is bullish that hardcore games will also penetrate into the top 25 most popular Facebook games in terms of monthly active numbers. “Probably 30 percent of the top 25 will be male dominated” by 2013, he said. As of February 2011, only three of the top 25 (Mafia Wars, Crime City, and City of Wonder) are arguably in that category.
Harbin believes some of those popular hardcore games will be produced by studios like Casual Collective and major developers from the traditional industry, but probably not Zynga. “It’s going to be hard for them” to “change their business,” he said.
What do you think about Harbin’s assessment of the 2013 Facebook games market?