Research group eMarketer has predicted that social gaming will become a billion-dollar industry this year.
According to the group, 62m US internet users will play at least one game on a social network in 2011, up from 2010’s figure of 53m.
Revenue will increase in the industry, thanks to money spent on virtual goods, lead-generation offers and advertising.
“Forecasts of audience and revenue growth present an opportunity for marketers to promote their brands through social games,” said Paul Verna of eMarketer.
“Implementations include branded virtual goods, custom games, virtual environments within existing games and lead-generation offers.
“Some campaigns even combine virtual and real-world items, expanding the gaming experience beyond social networks like Facebook and MySpace,” he said.
eMarketer also predicts that, as before, purchases of virtual goods will continue to make up the majority of social gaming revenues for both 2011 and 2012, holding steady at a 60pc share. This year, revenue from these purchases is expected to reach US$653m.
Ad spending in 2011 is expected to hit US$192m, a 60pc increase from last year. By 2012, this could make up a 20.5pc share of the total revenue for the social gaming industry, hitting US$271m.