Aristocrat CEO and Managing Director Trevor Croker has promised to invest heavily in the expansion of the company’s social casino business in 2019, describing the digital segment as a vital component of Aristocrat’s long-term growth strategy.
Outlining plans for the coming year during his address to investors at last week’s AGM, Croker explained that digital would become an increasingly central focus for Aristocrat moving forward, having seen segment profit grow 172% to US$330.8 million in FY18 following the acquisition of social gaming companies Plarium Global Ltd and Big Fish Games.
“We view 2019 as a transition year in digital during which we will focus on fully and successfully integrating both acquisitions, optimizing the opportunities of our growing scale and investing in new games, in line with a clear portfolio strategy and rigorous financial objectives,” Croker said.
“Over time, we will be targeting growth in our digital business that at least matches industry growth rates. To achieve this, we will continue to invest in the near term to build out a balanced game portfolio across key genres, demographics and geographies, in order to better manage volatility and drive long term, sustainable performance.”
Aristocrat currently owns three social casino titles, with Plarium, Big Fish and its original Product Madness title averaging a combined 8.1 million daily users as of late 2018. But Croker said far greater opportunities await.
“To continue to grow in digital, we must compete in the broader social games segment, which represents a US$50 billion market – 10 times larger than the total social casino market,” he said.
“Investors should be confident that we are doing so in a methodical and disciplined way: acquiring and developing the key digital skills and capabilities required to win, focusing on the most attractive genres while extracting appropriate scale efficiencies and closely managing ROI.”
Croker said the company’s spend on user acquisition would sit at between 25% and 28% of total digital revenues in 2019.