New Social Bingo Game Faces Criticism
Recently social media giant Facebook released its first real money gaming application in the UK. The online bingo game titled Bingo Friendzy has generated some controversy. The new app has provoked Christian groups and other anti-gambling organizations who believe that the game's cartoon characters could attract children and turn them into compulsive gamblers later in life. While the claims may seem far-fetched the groups say that the characters bear a strong resemblance to the digital children's game Moshi Monsters. Facebook plans to add virtual slot machines and several poker apps.
Many online gaming companies are currently using Facebook as a player acquisition tool. Since Facebook has over 900 million regular users the potential can easily be seen. Facebook has allowed several gaming apps in the past but players could only win virtual money. Julien Codorniou, Facebook's head of gaming for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told reporters "Gambling is very popular and well regulated in the UK...for millions of bingo users it's already a social experience [so] it makes sense [for us] to offer that as well."
More gaming apps will be launched in the near future. Zynga, one of Facebook's most well-known gaming partners, plans to launch real-money versions of its bingo and poker games early next year and will also add some slots. Facebook hopes to boost revenues which have been a source of concern for investors after the company's shares fell to a record low shortly after the company's IPO. Since May Facebook shares have fallen by 30%. At the same time Facebook's spending on sales and marketing more than tripled making investors nervous.
Ian Maude, head of Internet at Enders Analysis, said that Facebook's first results were the moment when investors "got to see the money and the real state of affairs". Maude also stated "This is the proof that there is a social media bubble. Those investors who piled in at $38 were on a hiding to nothing. Revenue growth even before Facebook's IPO wasn't there to support that valuation. People bought shares at those inflated prices based on the idea that Facebook was the new Google. It isn't. "
In the meantime anti-gambling groups are continuing their campaign against the new bingo games in the site. One group has gone so far as to ask the UK Gambling Commission to research and investigate social gaming. They contend that there is a link between social gaming and compulsive gambling.
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