Are Facebook games making more money than traditional games?

By on February 4, 2011, 3:14 PM
Facebook games aren't tracked in terms of sales, so it's difficult to find accurate revenue estimates. Nevertheless, since more game companies are going social, IGN decided to put together a graphic to see how much revenue social titles are bringing in.

While social game companies don't share their numbers, an NPD study last year found that 10 percent of the people who play Facebook games pay real money to buy in-game items or currency and a SocialGold study found that the average player who actually pays real money spends about $55. Putting the two together, it's possible to estimate how Facebook games stack up to the top 10 games of 2010 in terms of paying players and revenue generated. Players were rounded to the nearest half million and revenues were rounded to the nearest $50 million:

It looks like Call of Duty: Black Ops was the only game that had more players and made more money than any Facebook game. It's no wonder that Zynga is valued higher than Electronic Arts. This may not be the most accurate estimate, but it's interesting to see ballpark figures nonetheless.





User Comments: 18

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Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm hating where gaming trends are going... with all my heart...

yRaz yRaz said:

I would like to see more accurate numbers, but it is interesting...or disappointing. I'm gonna say more disappointing than interesting, though.

veedubguy said:

And this is why more game companies are taking on the prospect of doing more free 2 play w/ micro transactions... unfortunately I think this might become the future of gaming.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

It'd be interesting to know how accurate these figures really are, but when you come to think about it, it's not just about the quality of the games anymore but accessibility seems as important. For "standard" games that means better distribution (including digital), less draconian anti-piracy measures and pricing.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It wouldn't be surprising if they were. It's very saddening.

Guest said:

I could be wrong, but shouldn't Starcraft 2 be somewhere on that list?

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Kinda crazy - no doubt those FB games are making a brazillion dollars. BUT...it's an apples and oranges thing. The people I know who play those games are 1) primarily ladies (of all ages) and 2) non-traditional gamers.

Like when the Wii came out. All of us traditional gamers laughed at the corny Wii motion controllers and cartoonish looking games. But then they outsold the XBox and PS3 by a ton. And to who? Non-traditional gamers and young families.

It's just a different market. Not good, not bad - just different. The only commonality is they are labeled as "computer games."

Guest said:

Starcraft might not be supposed to be there - but WoW certainly should.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Amazing point Cota... you could laugh the same without wasting internet space you know...

Starcraft 2 sold when it was new, now it keeps selling but not as Black Ops as an example, also have in mind that shooters are more easy than strategy games that are for more hardcore players (trying to label as something).

I read something interesting there that I havent thought of, more accesible less RMA and that crap, although I really dont like where this is going because there are starting to come out games where you are required to pay for more things.

For example DLC, when they used to be free and a way to keep the game fresh and make more people buy the game, now they sell those so you invest more and more money into the game. Just wait for those online will always get something out of you, maybe you wont pay monthly fees but you'll still want to get that sword of devastateallyoucanswingthisat or that gun fireinstagibshotswithheadautoaiming or what not.

Tedster Tedster, Techspot old timer....., said:

I play of lot of facebook games as well as regular games and my wife and I have been known to drop a few bucks here and there. Yes, they're cheesy, but they are fun and games are all about entertainment and having fun.

hitech0101 said:

Online gaming addiction is far worse than gaming addiction facebook introducing simple games is just getting more addicted people to play with other users on facebook.

Johny47 said:

I don't really care, if people want to waste their money away on completely crap and probably repetitive games(those facebook ones sound as repetitive as some 'next gen' games really are =/) then their choice.

zillion said:

johny47 said:

I don't really care, if people want to waste their money away on completely crap and probably repetitive games(those facebook ones sound as repetitive as some 'next gen' games really are =/) then their choice.

The problem here as i see it and which, if ive read it correctly, others also notice is that if the micro-transition system becomes a too big a succes it will transfer itself to other games aswell, we might see it as greedy companies but u have to remember that if a company should fall behind in marketshare/stockprice it will eventually go to the eternal gamefields or bought by another of those, at that time stronger micro-transition companies, so evcentually we and i say we as a pc community, will be lost.

So for a certain extend i see why dlcÂ's reguire a small fee these days, i dont argue that the current amount is the right for those dlcÂ's and in some cases seems quite overpriced considering Activision/Blizzard entertainment have earned there share the last couple of years. But never the less i do like Activision/blizzard being one of the major players as they create pc games.

On another note, am i the only one thinking its utter shit that a game can win "Game of the year" without being distributed for ps3, xbox AND pc??

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Kibaruk said:

I'm hating where gaming trends are going... with all my heart...

Welcome to the club...

I keep remembering a picture seen on google, with all major game-protagonists war-posing (i.e. Gordon Freeman, Commander Shepard, Jake Dunn etc.) and the comment:

True Gaming

Because we're not Facebook-farmers.

Guest said:

interesting.. noone from my contacts who playing zynga games dosnt spend single one dolar in to it.. nr of playing vs money must be in bigger difference.. i dont trust in this kind of study!

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Lokalaskurar said:

I keep remembering a picture seen on google, with all major game-protagonists war-posing (i.e. Gordon Freeman, Commander Shepard, Jake Dunn etc.) and the comment:

True Gaming

Because we're not Facebook-farmers.

I might have to track that picture down and change my wallpaper.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Despite all of this, I'm still gaming more than ever before and I like the direction the games I play are going. I'm currently addicted to: Dead Space 2(xbox 360) Starcraft 2 and League of Legends (PC). It is sad to see what we perceive as being lower quality titles outshining the better ones. But so far I'm still more than able to spend too much time playing games. I honestly think there are enough people involved in the gaming industry that care about making truly innovative titles that I am not too worried. Although I do fear we will have to tread through an increasing amount of garbage to find games that are worthwhile.

Guest said:

WoW definitely should be on that list. Yeah, it's a bit different type of game, but it's not like the games on the list are all similar either.

For the amount of sales, it'd combat with CoD:BO with just active subscriptions, and for revenue generated it'd beat all the games on the list. As for actual profit, who knows what that is, but then the list is revenue-based instead profit-based anyway.

I myself don't play any of the Facebook games. They're just... silly. Like kid's games or whatever. Honestly stupidly popular for such simplistic, boring games. Each to their own though - my mother plays several of them with no less than three different accounts. Multiboxing Facebook moms - where has to world come to?

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