There was a time when social gaming was alien to us but from 2007 to 2011, every time you logged into your Facebook you would be bombarded with updates and invites about Farmville farms. It seemed like everyone had joined the social gaming bandwagon. Statistics show that social gaming grew four-fold annually during 2007 and 2011.

Although social gaming revenue is still expected to rise by 25% annually over the next 5 years, and is expected to reach $11.3 billion annually by 2016, the rate of growth is predicted to be slowing down. A study by Frank N Magid Associates found that the growth on social network gaming was only a 2 per cent relative rise between 2011 and 2012.

The survey showed that 38 per cent of social network users say they regularly play games in 2012 compared to 36 per cent in 2011, which is only a 2% rise. The slow down maybe a result in the reduction of the genre’s key audience of females aged 12 – 44, which dropped from 54 per cent to 47 among 12 – 17 year olds and from 40 per cent to 36 per cent among 25 – 44 year olds in the year 2012.

Social games no longer being viral is another contributing factor to the slowing down in growth of social games. Facebook has put in place limits on how many times an app sends updates to other users with the release of App Center. This means that players no longer automatically spam their friends with requests to join the app.

Now, there are too many games on social sites which means that the competition for users is greater. With the success of Facebook games, the number of social games has greatly increased creating competition among social game studios and games from other platforms such as Maple story that are now moving to Facebook.

The average spending of gamers has also reduced from $78 to $51 per year and gamers are saying that they will reduce their spending further than increase. This will contribute significantly to the slowing down of growth in social gaming.

It is good news that social gaming is still on the rise rather than on a downward slope. Though it might be a slower rise, slow and steady is better as the saying goes.

If you are into online or social gaming, please give us your comments below on where you think the industry is heading. We would love to hear from you.

Shireen Louw is a wedding photographer in Cape Town, South Africa who loves online gaming and also travelling through Africa. Her wedding photography business is one of her biggest passions.

The Growth Of Social Gaming