Recently, the social and mobile casino games studio Ruby Seven hit the jackpot and received a handsome investment from real world casino player Rush Street Gaming.
This capital puts the young Bay Area company in a prime position to increase its mobile presence and establish itself as a major player in the social casino space.
We caught up with Ruby Seven Studios CEO Michael Carpenter to discuss the investment and the similarities between social casino games and some of the App Stores top-grossing titles.
Pocket Gamer: The mobile/social casino space is projected to grow astronomically by 2015, what challenges does this growth bring for those in the space?
Michael Carpenter: Growth will likely draw new entrants into the space. The challenge for everyone will be to gain audiences in an increasingly crowded marketplace with little viral channel effectiveness.
Inherently, the difficulty lies in getting new and innovative games discovered. For developers, effective user acquisition strategies will continue to be key, as will customer engagement.
Do you see more similarities or differences between the experiences delivered by casual mobile gaming and casino gaming?
The beauty of social casino games is that they provide players with the fun casino game "experiences" that they love, but without real money risk or need to be in an actual casino.
The overall experiences are now beginning to converge with high-quality slots and poker games available as free-to-play social casino games.
Technology continues to transform the ways we game - how has it affected the online, land-based, and mobile casino gaming spaces?
Technology is transforming gameplay in all of these spaces, and it is occurring at an increasingly rapid pace. Tablets and mobile phones have created an incredible new gaming platform, for both online and mobile/social casino games.
At the same time, new technologies released by WMS, IGT and others are also allowing for more immersive gaming experiences on the casino floor.
How does Ruby Seven feel about the ethical element involved in casino gaming? What steps do you take to make sure your games are fair to your players?
At this time, Ruby Seven is not offering traditional casino gaming.
All of our games are created with a free-to-play, virtual coins model, ensuring that our players do not have risk or obligatory purchase in order to enjoy our games.
Big Fish CEO Paul Thelen recently said that "social casino is no more gambling than FarmVille or Candy Crush" - do you feel this statement is an accurate reflection of the social casino space?
I agree that similar random mechanics exist in many other games, and that the social casino should not be confused with gambling.
The joy of winning in the social casino world does not have the same rush as hitting a real money jackpot. But, it's not unlike the small rush of daily euphoria someone might experience from getting a high score in Bejeweled Blitz or conquering a level in Candy Crush.
At the end of the day, neither Candy Crush nor any social casino games have the same risk and reward expectation of real money gambling.
How difficult is player acquisition and retention for mobile casino games?
Player acquisition and retention in the mobile casino space depend on a variety of factors, including game quality, platform, and market.
Acquisition continues to be a critical competency for any publisher in gaming when used as the primary discovery tool. It is as difficult as it's ever been to acquire players in a more and more crowded marketplace.
What plans does Ruby Seven have for 2014 and beyond?
We've spent the last year building up a wealth of expertise and partnerships in the traditional gaming world, for both design and operations.
I think the biggest opportunity is to bridge the space between land-based casinos, online gaming and social casinos, and we'd like to be known as an industry leader in doing so.
Our recent partnerships with Bluhare Studios, Grand Vision Gaming and Rush Street Gaming will help us meet this goal in 2014.