The Cash Behind Social Gaming: Farmville

Social gaming definitely opens the door to a new market. A few of days ago I ran into this article “Bing Quintupled Its Facebook Fan Base By Bribing People With FarmVille Cash” and it immediately came back to my mind while I was reading this post. In summary, the results of this Bing campaign are strong: 400,000 Bing Fans in Facebook in 24 hours, not bad right?

What are the possibilities of social media video gaming? How high is up? This is a prediction more than a fact. For perspective, taking a look at the Infographics of World of WordCraft, we can see that it took WoW several years to get approximately 11 million users whereas it only took Farmville two months to accomplish the same.

Big part of Social Media Gaming is their ease of use. Clearly, these Facebook games, are not targeted to “gamers”. This is sort of the Wii vs. Xbox comparison. For perspective, only 1 out of 5 World of Wordcraft users is a woman; would this rate be higher in FarmVille? Well, new research from PopCap Social Gaming Research, shows that women are the norm in Social Gaming. In fact, the average online social gamer in the U.S. is a 48 years old woman with a full-time job.

These women had no previous interest in the old way of playing video games. They would never spend money buying consoles or play popular RPGs games but there’ is something about the format of the games that we find, for instance, in Facebook (i.e. Farmville, Pet Shop Society). Behind this success, two words, simplicity and community . “Virtual goods” don’t really amount to anything tangible, what the users are actually purchasing is a status symbol. This takes a whole new meaning in the context of social media as mentioned by Ben Parr of Mashable (http://mashable.com/2009/05/12/zynga-social-gaming/): “This is the social media in action – it’s simply a more relevant and meaningful experience when you’re playing against your best friend.”

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