Video game companies invest in gambling games

Here’s an interesting development:

3G Studios, a video game developer in Reno, is betting on online gambling.

The private company, with 47 U.S. employees, has hired almost 80 contractors in India and China and expects to have 200 dedicated solely to making gambling games by the end of the year. 3G is one of a handful of game makers jockeying for gambling business, expecting states, hungry for new tax revenue, to open the floodgates for Internet casinos.

Nevada is accepting applications for online gambling licenses, and in June, Delaware became the first state to approve online casino gambling for state residents, starting next year. Other states, including California and New Jersey, are considering loosening the rules for wagering on the Web after the Department of Justice reversed a longtime ban on many types of Internet betting in December.

Word is out that Zynga is also pushing their poker game for the same reasons.

There will be huge competition for poker players if we see national regulation, and the gamer companies will be battling the traditional casino companies.


Casino game developers target social gaming

Game developers like San Francisco Zynga have introduced a new era of social gaming. Social games can be played on PC’s, laptops and mobile devices. People can play online with their Facebook friends and Zynga’s games offer several features not found in more traditional online casino games. The advent of social gaming has forced many gaming companies to join the fray or risk being left behind in a rapidly changing industry. Earlier in the year, an article in the Wall Street Journal said that Zynga is making plans to enter the online gaming industry.

Some gaming companies are planning a foray into Zynga’s turf. The gaming companies have been emboldened by December’s ruling by the Justice Department that indicated that many forms of internet gaming could become legal. Gaming companies have been cautious since last April’s ‘black Friday’ seizures of several top online poker sites. The companies had their assets frozen and several people were indicted on a variety of charges. The December ruling has made gaming companies more confident that full online gambling legalization will take place soon.

One of the companies making the move towards social gaming is Las Vegas based International Game Technology, which just shelled out $500 million to purchase Double Down, a company that developed casino style games for Facebook. Although Double Down’s Facebook games don’t involve any actual gambling they are extremely popular with millions of regular players. The games involve the purchase of ‘virtual currency’ that players can spend playing games or for entertainment purposes.

Patti Hart, the CEO of International Game Technology, says that social gaming for real money is “going to come eventually.” Hart added “Think about how big Zynga Poker would be if it were about money, if you could win a jackpot and win a check.” If states allow social and real money gaming to mix the result could be $30 billion global business next year. Estimates say that social gaming revenues in the United States could reach $4.5 billion.

Even without real money bingo and other gambling games, social gaming is already a big business. It has been estimated that people will spend $2.9 billion on virtual goods in 2012. In 2011 people spent about $2.2 billion on virtual goods. The figures so not include revenues from advertising. IGT is planning to bring the company’s extensive collection of real world games to the Double Down casino. Players can access the games using PC’s, iPhones, iPads or through Facebook.


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