San Francisco – The U.S. virtual
goods market is expected to surpass $1.6 billion this year, with social gaming
contributing $835 million of the total, according to a report from market
research firm Inside Network.
"2009 was the year that casual games like
Zynga’s popular FarmVille took over the major social platforms and changed the
way millions of people socialized with friends online," said Inside
Network’s Justin Smith.
"Casual games introduced a rich, new way of
interacting with friends on social networks, and saw the highest engagement
numbers that the online entertainment industry has ever witnessed."
tens of millions of returning users, and millions of new visitors daily, it is
no wonder that the social gaming industry saw significant M&A activity: an
up-to-$400 million acquisition of Playfish by Electronic Arts, and hundreds of
millions of dollars in additional venture investments," added Charles Hudson,
vice president of business development at Serious Business, and host of the
annual Virtual Goods Summit.
"Social games are now impacting businesses
across the media landscape."