Gaming execs: Join 180 select leaders
from King, Glu, Rovio, Unity, Facebook, and more to plan your path to global domination in 2015. GamesBeat Summit
is invite-only -- apply here
. Ticket prices increase
on April 3rd!
Playstudios is launching a new social casino game, MyVegas Mirage Secret Gardens, that taps into MGM Resort International’s well-known Mirage hotel brand. The Facebook game is the latest that blends the fun of social gaming with the attraction of some of the most alluring casino properties in Las Vegas.
The new game is the latest result from the partnership between Burlingame, Calif.-based PlayStudios and the MGM Resorts International, which owns casinos on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
MyVegas is a free-to-play slot machine game festooned with themes from the Mirage Hotel and Casino, from its lush tropical oasis to the Siegfried & Roy animal show.
MyVegas joins 10 other social casino games developed by Playstudios for its popular app on Facebook. That app already has more than 3 million active players, including 250,000 that play every day and 900,000 that play every month, said Paul Mathews, the chief operating officer at Playstudios, in an interview with GamesBeat.
Mathews acknowledged that the company doesn’t have huge numbers of gamers in the tens of millions, like Zynga, but he said that its monetization is good. And while Mathews acknowledged that mobile games are attractive now, he said that social games on Facebook are also a good business.
“The key here is the play rate and how much they spend,” Mathews. “We’re comfortable with those numbers, though we don’t disclose them. We are launching new games as rapidly as we can and people love it.”
More than a hundred social casino game rivals are facing off on Facebook. Many of these companies are waiting for the legalization of online gambling in the U.S. But Playstudios has no interest in that. While Playstudios and MGM are aligned, you can’t actually win a stay in an MGM hotel in Las Vegas by playing and winning a social slot machine game. Rather, you can win rewards in Vegas simply by playing, such as coming back every day to play. You are rewarded for your loyalty, but not for gambling per se. That keeps it all legal.
While many other game startups have unknown brands in the social casino space, Mathews said Playstudios is sticking to its dual approach of high-quality games and branded, authentic experiences in the MyVegas suite of games.
“Economically, social casino games have turned out to be a good place to be,” Mathews said.
Playstudios has created a meta-game where you can build out your own version of the Las Vegas Strip inside the virtual casino.
“Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage is dedicated to awareness and conservation of rare species. By bringing this destination to life in MyVegas, we’re able to further engage millions of players online with our property in a way that’s both entertaining and rewarding,” said Tom Mikulich, the senior vice president of business development at MGM Resorts International.
Mirage Secret Gardens is a 30-line slot game with 3-by-5 reels. It has a case of cute animals and their trainers set in a tropical oasis. Players can accumulate bonus symbols that activate free spins and a Dolphin Jump Hi/Low Bonus.
While playing Mirage Secret Gardens, players can also accrue status and MyVegas collectibles. MyVegas is also holding a contest in which 100 players will be chosen at random every day to receive 10,000 free chips. Each day, players will have a chance to enter the giveaway. MyVegas players can earn loyalty points by playing Mirage Secret Gardens and win valuable real-world rewards. The comps in Vegas (which you get for being loyal, but not for winning at gambling) include rewards such as special dining offers from Wolfgang Puck, and free Las Vegas rooms, meals, show tickets, and more from Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur, and Circus Circus.
MGM Resorts International hopes to drive its tens of millions of customers to the social casino games. In turn, those games will feed customers to Las Vegas hotels. At least that is the theory.
“It’s early to know the full impact of that,” Mathews said.
Playstudios was founded in 2011 by Andrew Pascal, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who also had a wealth of experience in the casino business. Playstudios raised $12 million in two rounds. Mathews said his company believes that virtual goods casino games — where you can purchase chips for real money but cannot cash your winnings out — will be a good business and that Playstudios has no plans to offer real-money online gambling.