Laurel DevotoMarketing Specialist at Zco Corporation
For the first time, a game on Facebook allows players to use real money, instead of credits, to play a game.
It’s called Bingo and Slots Friendzy and it’s an extension of a Gamesys franchise called Jackpotjoy.com. The game is only available to UK Facebook users over the age of 18.
Facebook allows game creators to offer apps that Facebook itself hasn’t created. Games like FarmVille, Hobo Wars and more have entertained Facebook users since before 2010, but none have allowed players to use real money in-game. Instead, players could purchase credits that could be exchanged for in-app purchases.
Facebook credits are available online, through Paypal, on the Facebook app or at certain retailers. Credit packages range from 50 credits for $5 to 2,360 credits for $200. The credits platform has been available since 2009, but wasn’t more widely used until after it was rolled out to 14 applications in January of 2010. At that time, credits could be used for applications like Birthday Calendar, to purchase e-gifts for friends; (fluff)Friends, where items could be purchased for a virtual pet; and Happy Aquarium, where upgrades were available with credits.
Players must provide access to a valid credit card before playing Bingo Friendzy. Once they do, they can wager money in gambling-based games. Players who win will receive real cash prizes. Gamesys has reported that it is in compliance with gambling regulations and will give players access to resources to help them limit their access and spending in the app.
Of course, the new cash-wagering game is only the first of what may be many. Facebook representatives have said that similar games will be released soon. Zynga has also announced plans to launch its own slot machine and bingo applications in the UK.
Many countries, including the United States, have laws restricting games of chance.
A new study from PopCapGames shows that about half of all gamers in the United States and United Kingdom prefer mobile devices as their primary gaming device.
Solutions Group, an independent research firm, performed the study on behalf of PopCapGames, which is owned by Electronic Arts. More than 2300 gamers from the U.S. and U.K. were surveyed. Of those, 50 percent said they prefer gaming with a smartphone at home. Tablet owners had an even stronger preference for gaming at home, with 74 percent of respondents saying they preferred playing at home.
Dennis Ryan, the Vice President of Worldwide Publishing at PopCapGames said that many people are getting into gaming for the first time via mobile devices. He continued to say that “mobile gaming is invading the last bastion of video game consoles and personal computers: the home.” In the past, the primary home gaming platform was console or PC-based, not mobile. Responses to the study show a shift in the preferences of gamers.
69 percent of survey respondents said they preferred playing mobile games at home on the couch, with on a bus or train coming in second at 63 percent. 57 percent preferred playing while laying in bed and 41 percent like to play while watching TV. Tablet users had an even higher preference for playing on the couch and while watching TV, with positive response rates of 78 percent and 52 percent respectively.
According to John Gaudiosi of GamerLive, gamers with smartphones are more likely to play in situations like waiting rooms, restaurants before going to the table or in line at stores.
A smaller number of gamers admitted to playing in situations where gaming may have been frowned upon, according to DigitalMediaWire. Two percent said they’ve played during a movie at a theater. Six percent admitted to playing during work, while eight percent said they’ve played mobile games during class.
The survey also revealed that mobile gamers are largely male, at 60 percent of users. 69 percent were under the age of 35 and 78 percent play mobile games every day.
In the second quarter of 2012, Apple’s iPhone represented 73 percent of smartphone activations through AT&T.
The new activations come at a time when AT&T, like Verizon, is changing its pricing structures to account for mobile device data usage. Both companies are offering customers plans with unlimited text messages and calls. The price difference depends on the amount of data a user purchases. Verizon and AT&T are both charging a flat rate for a certain data level; consumers pay extra per line that will share the data.
AT&T’s quarterly financial statement reveals that 5.1 million phones were activated in April, May and June of 2012, according to TechCrunch. Of these activations, the iPhone accounted for 3.7 million. 33 percent of iPhones activated were new subscriptions. AT&T’s financial statement also revealed that 88 percent of postpaid customers are on FamilyTalk or business plans; one-third of postpaid AT&T customers use a 4G capable device.
Smartphones were 77 percent of postpaid sales growth and AT&T has about 43 million smartphones subscriptions, according to PC Mag. The same article pointed out that more Android devices than iPhones were activated on Verizon in the first quarter of 2011.
AT&T sales of the iPhone were even higher in the previous quarter, with 4.3 million units sold in January, February and March of 2012. 7.6 million iPhones were activated on AT&T in the last quarter of 2011. As TechCrunch points out, the iPhone 4S has been out for about nine months now, but many units are still sold. The Huffington Post reports that the best-selling smartphones of 2011 were Apple’s iPhone 4, iPhone 3 GS and iPhone 4S.
Rumors say the iPhone 5 will launch in September with a slimmer design, new materials and a 19-pin dock pin connector, said an article in the Examiner.
A June report from Localytics reveals smartphone owners are becoming more loyal to their apps.
The study found that iOS users – those who downloaded apps to an iPad, iPod or iPhone – were more loyal to their apps than Android users. Android users only open 23 percent of their apps 11 or more times, while iOS users open 35 percent of their apps 11 or more times. The Chief Executive of Localytics, Raj Aggarwal, explained that the disparity might exist because more apps are developed for iOS first, then ported to Android. Aggarwal said that iOS apps are “a bit more polished and mature.”
The study considered apps opened more than 11 times the high-end metric. App publishers see users as loyal and expect them to return to the app once it has been used 11 or more times. It did not distinguish between free and paid apps.
The study also found that news apps like those released by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have the highest retention rate of any type of app. 44 percent of users opened news apps 11 or more times. Gaming, entertainment and sports apps had retention rates between 33 and 36 percent. Lifestyle apps had the lowest retention rate at 15 percent. 30 percent of users only opened lifestyle apps once.
In all, the app retention rate was 31 percent in the third quarter of 2011. That represented a 19 percent increase over the third quarter 2010, with a 26 percent retention rate.
The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 30 billion apps have been downloaded from the iTunes store, which has more than 650,000 apps available to users. Android users have downloaded more than 15 billion apps from the 500,000 available in Google’s Play store.
Aggarwal said that people opening an app multiple times is important because the more an app is opened, the more people are going to spend on in-app purchases. Aggarwal also explained that the retention rate of an app is often overlooked as a measure of success, but is just as important as the number of downloads an app has.
The Future of Privacy Forum has released the results of a study that looked at privacy policies in mobile apps. FPF, along with the Center for Democracy and Technology, recently shared a list of best practices for privacy policies within mobile applications. Justin Brookman, the director of the CDT, explained that the organizations are interested in helping developers learn to protect and respect the sensitive customer data received through their apps without stifling their innovation and creativity.
The FPF released the study days before a government committee met to discuss consumer privacy laws.