Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is Myspace Games Cannibalizing the Audience From Social Games in the Myspace App Directory?

So what if I told you the following:

  • Myspace and World Poker Tour announced that they had partnered to launch a real-time poker game on Myspace, and
  • World Poker Tour would get prime placement in the Myspace Games directory.
Do you think it would cannibalize players from successful poker apps, like Zynga's dominant Texas Holdem Poker?

Now, if I told you Texas Holdem Poker had 80,000 people playing right this second, how many people do you think would be playing World Poker Tour at the same time?

80. That's right. Eight-zero. Or 1/1000th of the people playing Zynga's version in the app gallery. Games in the App Gallery have nothing to worry about.

I'd always assumed that Myspace Games would compete with games in the app gallery to the advantange of Myspace Games. Turns out, they have no apparent effect on each other. They serve different userbases.

I took a look at the growth curves. Myspace Games was around before the App Gallery, so it seems reasonable to expect that the launch of games in the App gallery would cannibalize traffic from Myspace Games. Nope, traffic remained flat. As the months wore on, traffic to the App Gallery grew steadily. Meanwhile, Myspace Games growth remained flat.

It looks to me that rather than serving the existing market of casual gamers (which Myspace Games does very well - it's powered by Oberon Media, a powerhouse in casual games distribution), social games in the App Gallery are creating a new market of gamers.

I'll say that again for emphasis: social games is opening up an entirely new audience for games. A massive audience. A mass-market audience.

For the curious, according to Quantcast (whose data is always a bit suspect), the Apps Gallery has 5.2M monthly visitors (about 8% of Myspace's total traffic), and Myspace Games gets about 688k monthly visitors (less than 1% of Myspace's total traffic).