Social gaming is one of the most attractive parts of the larger gaming industry, says one industry veteran.
Imperus Technologies (TSXV:LAB) CEO James Lanthier presented at the Cantor Fitzgerald Growth Conference in Toronto Tuesday. Lanthier, who pointed out that his is the only public company solely focused on the social casino business, explained what defines social gaming.
Social gaming, says Lanthier, is typically comprised of casual games that have a gambling theme or format. They are often played over social networks or downloaded through app stores. Social games normally feature a leaderboard and feature the ability to engage with other players. The demographic of social games is largely female and agewise skews over 35. The predominant business model for social gaming is freemium, and that is the one that Imperus employs.
“These are the friendly, unthreatening version of real money games on the internet,” says Lanthier. But that fact, he explained, does not translate into a lightweight business for one important reason. Because no money changes hands in this version of gaming, it is not contained by the tangle of regulation that defines the real money gaming market.
Prior to Lanthier’s time at Imperus the company did have a real money gaming business, but ditched it in favour of what they see as a much more attractive space. Lanthier estimates the social casino business market at (U.S.) $4-billion and says it is growing faster than the real money gaming market. He says the social gaming market is still very fragmented with a lot of M&A opportunities.
Mississauga-based Imperus Technologies develops mobile and social games for a number of platforms, including Facebook, iOS, and Android. Earlier this month, the company announced it would acquire Akamon Entertainment Millennium, S.L, a social casino business with interests in Spain and Latin America. Akamon reported EBITDA of $3.9-million on revenue of $10.7-million in its third quarter 2015. That transaction was completed this morning for a cost of (U.S.) $23,949,981.
Lanthier became CEO of Imperus on September. Previously, he led the technology and media-focused private equity partnership RAM Equity and before that founded FUN Technologies, a large provider of online casual and fantasy sports games that was acquired by Liberty Media Corporation in 2007.