Raising crops and knocking off mobsters became a popular pastime for many people online in 2010.
Many people couldn’t resist social gaming apps on Facebook and social networking sites, such as Farmville and Mafia Wars.
The rising popularity in social gaming is opening opportunities for marketers as venue for branded virtual goods, offers, ads and campaigns that combine digital and real-world items.
Consolidation in the social gaming world, through mergers and capital investment, indicate future growth.
eMarketer is forecasting social gaming revenues will exceed $1 billion this year.
In 2010 more than 53 million Internet users, or 24 percent of the online audience, spent time playing social games at least once a month, according to the report.
That gaming audience is expected bloom, growing by 29.5 percent, to more than 68.7 million by 2012. Revenues from social gaming
“That is a spectacular number considering that this form of gaming took off in earnest less than two years ago,” Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analysts and author of the new report, “Social Gaming: Marketers Make Their Move.” “Next year’s growth will be modest compared with the meteoric rise of this form of gaming in its first two years, but the projected increase will be healthy enough to sustain multiple opportunities for developers, publishers, investors and marketers.”