The Game of Skill and the Future of Real Money Gambling | Nancy MacIntyre

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Nancy MacIntyre, CEO of Game Taco, gave a brief overview of the skill game market and the future of real-money gaming at our recent GamesBeat Summit 2023 event.

MacIntyre became CEO of Game Taco in May. Game Taco bought skill game publisher Worldwinner from Sony in May 2021. Worldwinner itself got into skill games in 1999, and last year Game Taco partnered with FanDuel to develop a new product.

She said Game Taco hosts over nine million tournaments each month and has given away over $2 billion in cash prizes to date. Most of the business is on mobile gaming platforms, which are on track to hit $90 billion in 2023, MacIntyre said.

Games of skill are older and more feminine.

One thing that is relevant to the skill games industry is that 50% of mobile game revenue is generated from casual games, including sports games and casino games.

“It’s really the basics of the skill industry, and the skill game categories are outpacing the growth of the gaming industry as a whole,” MacIntyre said.

Last year, the skill games business grossed about $10 billion and accounted for about 8% of the overall games category, she said. This is expected to reach almost 15% of total mobile games by 2025.

The top skill game markets start with the US, but we have India, Mexico, the UK and Germany rounding out the top five globally. There are regulations in various markets that make launching skill games worldwide more complex than just launching in the App Store.

Skilled players want to play.

“But we’re starting to see new markets in Europe, Latin America and many more that are embracing games of skill and we expect that to continue to grow significantly,” MacIntyre said.

There is a lot of competition in games of skill. Skillz and Mobile Premier League are probably the best-known skill game companies, but MacIntyre said no one company dominates the business. Besides Game Taco, other players include Papaya, Pocket7Games, and GameDuell. The latter was bought by the Indian MPL in 2022.

“There is a fight for the hearts and minds of skill game players around the world,” MacIntyre said.

The category is very different compared to premium or subscription games, as the games are played in multiplayer matches against other people. Games are also not random, like games of chance. They take either physical skills or mental skills to win.

“It’s like the difference between playing chess or playing roulette,” she says. “There is no luck or chance in these games. It really is a question of competence. »

The game of skill is widespread all over the world.

Otherwise, they would be classified as games of chance and would be subject to regulations. Game of skill is considered distinct from gambling in at least 40 US states

Players are matched via skill levels to ensure there is a level playing field for players. Sharks and minnows don’t fight in the same pool, because it’s not fair. And in skill games, players can win real money prizes.

Games of skill also have a large following. In its early days, it was considered a category of games played by soccer moms who liked casual games. Today, about a third of players are over 45 years old. It’s a broad demographic, with 55% of players being women.

“When you compare that to the classic video game industry, which has started to grow over the years to include people of all ages, that category tends to have a lot more older users and a lot more people playing. to casual games,” MacIntyre said.

“And what’s interesting about these players is that they are players with a capital G, even if they don’t necessarily define themselves as players,” she said. “They spend more time playing games than other gamers – nearly 40 hours a month – and they play across multiple platforms. While mobile may be their dominant gaming platform, they also play games on PC, on tablets or on console. »

They also spend more money, averaging $76 per month per skill player, compared to $48 per month for a typical player.

“That’s way beyond what traditional players spend,” MacIntyre said. “So they are very committed, loyal and dedicated players.”

Unsurprisingly, skill players also like to gamble. About 75% of skill gamblers also play scratch cards, Powerball casino products, slots and fantasy sports, she said. Players find games of skill with a money component to be more fun than casual games that don’t have that element.

“They have skin in the game,” she said. “Because mobile gamers have grown up playing a range of games and have adapted their gameplay, they have gone from playing games with other people in esports to the next frontier of games for money.”

She added, “This is a big opportunity from a market perspective. We also learned that the market is rather fragmented, with no dominant global brand. There is a lot of expansion and growth.

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