The ISGA’s research programme ensures that we understand how social games are played and the impact they have on players, allows us to revise and update our Best Practice Principles, and provides a solid basis for constructive dialogue with key stakeholders.

A New Industry Profile 

In May 2014 the ISGA published ‘A New Industry Profile’, which aims to explain what the social games sector is and who is playing and offer new perspective on social games and their impact. Written by independent academics from Harvest Strategy and the University of Sydney, the report undertakes both a review of existing academic literature and data as well as a new survey of consumer behaviour and perceptions across Australia, the UK, France and the US.

The report’s key findings include:

  • Social games are both an increasingly important part of today’s digital economy and a natural evolution from traditional games.
  • There is no evidence to support the theory that social games lead to gambling; social casino games should be properly categorised as a genre of social games.
  • The average social games player is around 40 years old; players are evenly split between males and females
  • Consumers benefit in gameplay experience from the freemium pricing model, which allows them to access high quality content before they buy, spend according to what they really value and play at convenience.

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A Snapshot of Youth in the Digital Playground

In November 2014 the ISGA released its second independent academic research, “A Snapshot of Youth in the Digital Playground”, which addresses concerns that social casino games encourage young people to gamble or develop problem gambling. The study was again led by Dr Rohan Miller of Harvest Strategy and The University of Sydney.

As well as undertaking a review of existing academic literature and data, Harvest were given access to a large-scale data snapshot from ISGA members’ games, covering in excess of 12 million player data points across the UK, EU, Australia and US during the month of May 2014.

The report’s key findings include:

  • A tiny proportion of under 18’s are playing social casino games. Over 99% of social casino players were found to be adults. The findings are consistent with industry data indicating that social casino games appeal to an older demographic, and not to young people.
  • Even fewer under 18’s are paying to play. Data from the ISGA snapshot showed that youth 13 to 18 years made up only a small fraction (0.15%) of players that pay to play and contributed 0.07% of all social casino market expenditure.
  • The low level of paying play amongst under 18’s challenges the claim made by some that social games companies groom young people for commercial gambling.

You can download: