Zynga + Casino Social Aspect

There is some speculation that the reason Zynga has played down its social features in its namesake Plus Casino and Poker games — which are available online and by playing their downloadable desktop program — is to clear all extraordinary variables from its new gambling offerings and start with basic metrics.

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In other words, Zynga, to its credit, may be taking the careful approach to the global explosion of online real-cash games, for whatever reason. At least it is not plunging into the marketplace blindly, eager to make a fast buck.

Zynga Time

It is an online gaming pioneer and leader, so it can take its time to some extent. The market it fast and furious, however, and it mustn’t get lapped before the public can associate it with casino entertainment.

Zynga probably needs to find the baseline for how its casino games perform and how its customers react to them, before adding the added dimension of social tools. There is little doubt that social features such as profiles, in-game chats, friending, gifting and private rooms will eventually sprout in Zynga Plus Casino and Zynga Poker.

The Social Side

Yet it stands to reason that it remains to be seen whether the social elements will combine with real-cash gaming to produce more profits, and/or, enhanced player enjoyment. If all the social tools are rolled out from the start, you see, but it soon becomes apparent that they do not make the game more profitable, then Zynga has a PR problem.

Most players, especially those accustomed to Zynga’s famous ‘social’ logic, largely integrated with the Facebook environment (although its own branded site also accommodates non-Facebook players directly), will find Plus Casino and Poker somewhat anticlimactic.

There are already some fabulous online casino games out there, produced by talented studios like Net|Ent, Microgaming, Playtech and others. Of course, Zynga’s style (sometimes even a big racy) had attracted loyal fans, and its quality is very high.

Slots Galore

In any case, slots will be central to Zynga’s casino-entertainment launch because this form of gambling is the clear favourite in countries with regulated gambling (in the UK and Italy, for instance). Slots draw crowds, just like in Vegas.

Slots, obviously, will be a kind of ‘gateway drug’ for many who will take a liking to cash wagers and learn the ropes at card tables (with Zynga’s help, of course). Social networking and in-game social features could conceivably help the company educate and turn on customers who may not have tried traditional casino games.

Serious Gamblers May Be Anti-Social

On the other hand, hardboiled gamblers who feel at home at the Blackjack, Poker Baccarat and Roulette tables could either be annoyed or vexed or left out by social features; there is definitely an overarching issue of fairness. In the short term we may see separate facilities for social and non-social players, so to speak.

Zynga has made its big (highly anticipated) move into real-cash gambling. Its main focus in the early days may well be to cut any loses or attrition as the games hit players’ expectations. Eventually it will have to make a compromise between profits and the right amount of player interaction and socializing.