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Expect social gaming to break a billion dollars this year

Think Farmville is a joke? What about Mafia Wars? Well, do you think a billion dollars is any kind of laughing matter? It turns out that the social gaming market is being projected to be a million dollar business for 2011. That’s a lot of virtual farms on Facebook!

This massive number comes by way of an eMarketer report, citing mostly the growth that we have seen on platforms like Facebook and Zynga. No longer do you have to release a conventional disc-based game on an Xbox or even a casual game on iOS to rake in the dough. Social gaming can represent some huge money.

Why? Because there are more people playing these kinds of games and they represent a huge potential for revenue. In 2011, it’s expected that 62 million Americans will log into a social network and play at least one game monthly. That’s 27% of the online audience.

But where is this money coming from? Part of it has to do with advertising and lead generation, but an even bigger chunk is coming via virtual goods. It’s expected that Americans will spend $653 million on virtual goods in social games in 2011. That’s a sizable increase from the $510 million spent in 2010, which is still nothing to sneeze at.

You might only get a virtual cow on your virtual farm, but the developers are raking in some real money on that transaction.

About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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