It will be a banner year for social gaming. And wherever there is a banner, there are usually some big bucks propping it up.
According to the latest projections by eMarketer, the emergent popularity of social networking sites (and their associated mobile and web-based games) is finally beginning to translate into substantial revenue.
eMarketer says that ever since Zynga released FarmVille in June 2009, it’s been “game on” for the lucrative market that social games has given rise to.
If the latest forecast is accurate, overall US social gaming revenues will surpass $1 billion this year, an increase over $856 billion in 2010.
Nearly 62 million US internet users, or 27% of the online audience, will play at least one game on a social network monthly this year, up from 53 million in 2010.
Revenues from virtual goods are booming and there’s no indication they will slow any time soon. In fact, eMarketer revealed Friday that virtual goods “make up the majority of overall social gaming revenues, accounting for $510 million in revenues in 2010.”
Additionally, social gaming sites are expected to earn $653 million in virtual goods revenues this year, “compared to just $192 million in ad revenues and $248 million in lead-generation offers,” the eMarketer Quick Stat reveals.