The 46th Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) gets underway this week, but the social WSOP mobile app is making some headlines of its own as a new report suggests the platform will overtake Zynga Poker as the market leader in 2015.
A study on Social Casino Metrics performed by SuperData Research found that revenues from free money poker continues to decline as more and more players transition to all-in-one gaming apps that offer not only poker but also innovative casino products.
Total revenues for social poker on both PC and mobile totaled $203 million in 2013, but that figure is expected to come in around $179 million for 2015 and down to $156 million by 2017.
Zynga is the leading culprit for the decline as its poker audience dropped 44 percent last year to below 20 million active monthly players.
Once the undisputed king of play money poker, Zynga has lost a little bit of its zest as market analysts believe the company has failed to adapt to the current trend in social gaming that shows users moving to all-encompassing casino apps.
“User numbers are dropping more sharply than revenue, as the market matures and fickle players fall by the wayside,” the report states. “More casual poker players now gravitate toward poker games included in casino-style apps like DoubleDown Casino.”
Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, DoubleDown Casino, now a subsidiary of IGT, offers free-to-play casino games and branded content such as its Star Trek, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy slots.
According to SuperData, Zynga’s failure to release an app loaded with multiple casino games is the primary reason the company is losing customers.
Recreational fun money gamblers are migrating to all-in-one apps, while core poker fans and players new to the mobile arena are signing up on WSOP.
To add insult to injury, the WSOP brand is entering its busiest time of the year as the poker world descends on the Rio in Vegas for the game’s most visible and important festival on the calendar.
And for 2015, tournament directors are going all-in on growing the WSOP.com platform.
Players will be able to multi-table while playing a World Series of Poker event on their table or mobile device through secure WiFi connections in the convention center.
The decision to allow players to play at the felt and online simultaneously will undeniably send WSOP.com real money traffic skyrocketing for May, June, and July.
The WSOP will also award its first-ever online bracelet in 2015. Though the event will conclude with a live final in Vegas, the addition signals the importance the brand is placing on growing its online room.
Last year, cash-game liquidity on WSOP.com surged over 60 percent during the spring and beginning of summer, and officials are hoping for an even higher increase in 2015.
With WiFi readily available, casual poker fans and tourists visiting Vegas during the nearly two-month festival might also be enticed to create an account and download the WSOP app.
As poker reaches its most visible time of the year, the WSOP is ideally positioned to overtake not only Zynga’s social gaming market share, but increase its lead in legalized iPoker in the United States.