Social gaming company Zynga, creator of several popular Facebook games including FarmVille, is growing at a pace that would make even its most productive virtual agrarians jealous, adding 12 million players in the last two weeks. The 20% boost in overall users can largely be attributed to FarmVille's 5.3 million active users per day, the most on Facebook, though other Zynga titles like Mafia Wars and Texas Hold 'Em also contribute high traffic volumes.
Zynga's most recent growth spurt marks a 50% jump in users over the past month, a testament to social gaming's popularity on sites like MySpace and Facebook (especially the latter) where social gaming has jumped out ahead of traditional online retailing in both popularity and revenue. If Zynga's revenues have jumped proportionally to its user base, that should peg its annual net take at around $150 million, quite a feat considering the social network itself is expected to net just $550 million this year.
Of course, traditional enterprise isn't far behind on social networks. 1-800-flowers launched a Facebook storefront last week, and at least 20 more retailers are expected to open virtual storefronts inside the social network in the next two months. But for now, Facebook is still far more valuable as an entertainment platform. Put another way, we'd be quite surprised to see a traditional retailer growing revenue at the same tick Zynga appears to be. For the time being, growing virtual veggies will be more profitable than growing real flowers.[via AllFacebook, Financial Times]
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