Addicted to sowing seeds, begging for gifts, harvesting and moving up levels on Farmville? At least I’m pretty much done with Farmville updates in my feed. Annoying it may be to people like me but for a good chunk of Facebook-ers it’s highly addictive. Some of my friends’ girlfriends have complained about lack of attention bestowed upon them by their Farmville-loving boyfriends ever since the social gaming scenario exploded on the Internet. So how do these social games actually make money? Well let’s find out.
The 3 new major players in the social gaming world are Zynga, Playfish and Playdom. Zynga’s most popular application on Facebook has 61 million monthly users. It is no doubt Farmville. Playfish’s Pet Society has almost 21 million users while Playdom boasts of more than 16 million users on both MySpace and Facebook. So many users, so much potential. Zynga plans to go public soon while there are rumors floating around that Playdom might have been acquired by EA for a whopping $400 million. These companies are believed to be generating as much as $300 million annually on the sales of virtual goods.
Yes you heard that correctly. Virtual goods. These social games tend to become very addictive. Once you’ve started playing with them you no longer care about your girlfriend, college assignments or a kidney failure. These games get into you like oxygen. Once you’re totally committed to the game you’re willing to pay for virtual goodies that come along at higher levels. Apart from the virtual goods model these companies also offer game currency in exchange for opt-in offers from advertisers. If you’re thinking who pays, think again. If there are over 60 million monthly users for a single application, even if 5-10% go for it, it’ll add to the company’s bank account.