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"Free Facebook games make $20 per user"

"Free Facebook games make $20 per user"

Free Facebook games like Farmville can make around $20 per user, claim analysts.

Gamesbrief analyst Nicholas Lovell has claimed that many 'freemium' games on Facebook make around $20 per player on average, in a feature with Develop.

The claim comes in the wake of rumours suggesting that EA has bought Facebook game-maker Playfish for a whopping $250 million USD, suggesting that free games like Farmville may not be as throw-away as some of us might like to think. Playfish's user base alone has grown from 35 million to 60 million players in the last year alone.

Numbers for Facebook games are hard to come by but across the web, many freemium games are generating ARPPU (average revenue per paying user) of around $20,” wrote Gamesbrief founder Nicholas Lovell.

Free does not mean unprofitable,” said Lovell. “Facebook users have become accustomed to the freemium model, whereby they have the option of paying for virtual goods, which might give them special powers, accelerate the levelling-up process or allow them to express their identity.

The money generally comes from microtransactions obviously, with the strength of that business model being that there's no upper limit on what a user might spend. Rather than simply buying the game once, players might many items over a much longer period.

It is not a binary choice between £0 and, say, £4.99. It is a sliding scale between zero and a very large number indeed. Bigpoint, for example, have several users who spend over $1,000 each month on virtual items in their web-based games such as Dark Orbit.

Play Farmville? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

18 Comments

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DeathAwaitsU 16th October 2009, 12:52 Quote
Users who spend over $1,000 on a facebook game period (nevermind per month) have no lives!
Dave Lister 16th October 2009, 12:54 Quote
Sick of getting invites to play bloody farmville, it looks crap.
NuTech 16th October 2009, 13:01 Quote
Strangely this has a lot of similarities with an article I read today on Kotaku.com about D&D Online.

To paraphrase, since the Dungeons & Dragons MMO started offering a free to play option (bolstered by micro-transactions) they've noticed a significant percentage of players spending more per month than they would of had they just paid the full subscription fee.

I think it says a lot about the way we perceive money in general. Siphon it away from us and we're generally none the wiser, try to take it in one lump sum and instantly our better judgement starts to consider things like value (is that a fair price?) and desire (do I really want this?).

Reminds me a lot of the way we think nothing of the change in our pocket. Start putting it in a jar on the nightstand every day and suddenly you have £50 in coins.
[PUNK] crompers 16th October 2009, 13:14 Quote
anyone who is spending £1000 a month on a game needs help. does no one else think its a bit exploitative to continue taking their money?
kylew 16th October 2009, 14:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crompers
anyone who is spending £1000 a month on a game needs help. does no one else think its a bit exploitative to continue taking their money?

$1000 :p

It's still ridiculous though.
yakyb 16th October 2009, 14:43 Quote
what about the bloke investing ~ 100,000 into eve
SteveU 16th October 2009, 14:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathAwaitsU
Users who spend over $1,000 on a facebook game period (nevermind per month) have no lives!

Or have money to burn!
Musicboffin 16th October 2009, 15:20 Quote
To the average guy, $1000/month is a lot. To the high roller, $1000/month represents possibly less than 1% of their income and is pocket change. It's all relative. Don't hate the rich guy supporting the stuff you use/play.
mHod 16th October 2009, 15:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Sick of getting invites to play bloody farmville, it looks crap.

two options for you:

1. Select Hide Farmville when you next see anything in your feed about it, you'll never see it again.
2. Use facebook lite at lite.facebook.com - no 3rd part apps at all.

As the famous meerkat may say - "simples"....
Dave Lister 16th October 2009, 17:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mHod
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Sick of getting invites to play bloody farmville, it looks crap.

two options for you:

1. Select Hide Farmville when you next see anything in your feed about it, you'll never see it again.
2. Use facebook lite at lite.facebook.com - no 3rd part apps at all.

As the famous meerkat may say - "simples"....

Will try both those suggestions ! thanks mHod
HandMadeAndroid 17th October 2009, 18:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crompers
anyone who is spending £1000 a month on a game needs help. does no one else think its a bit exploitative to continue taking their money?


Thats about my average pay per 3d build on second life, help me, help me! Tier (server tax) for second life can run into multiple thousands a month.
FIBRE+ 18th October 2009, 16:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicboffin
To the average guy, $1000/month is a lot. To the high roller, $1000/month represents possibly less than 1% of their income and is pocket change. It's all relative. Don't hate the rich guy supporting the stuff you use/play.
Some may be "high rollers" some may be your average gamer turned addict trying to fuel there addiction with stolen credit cards and PayPal accounts. Which is exactly what happend to my brothers PayPal account, some guy hijacked it to pay for various MMORPG's subscriptions and microtransactions.

If you were that rich why would you waste your time\money on games like that
BurningFeetMan 19th October 2009, 03:13 Quote
It's important to remember, that once you sign up to these sorts of applications on facebook, they know absolutely everything about you.

I'll stick to buying games off of Steam, thanks.

In the mean time, I might double check that I have ZERO applications that have access to my facebook account.
Fozzy 19th October 2009, 08:27 Quote
meh I probably dropped $300 on platinum playing Everquest 2 over about 8 months. It gets really addicting having the best. I switched to wow and I'm happy to say I only spend 15 a month on the subscription. Oh and I guess I bought a couple of items on Ebay for D2 back in the day because I couldn't find them in game hahaha.

Anyways, when you have extra money lying around and you start spending it on games you gotta take a break. I sure did.
IccleD 19th October 2009, 20:49 Quote
Cafe World, Mafia Wars, Vampires, Street Racing & Farmville = Zynga, Inc
Normally ripping off other peoples games like;

Cafe World = Resturant City - Playfish
Mafia Wars = Mob Wars (read the info here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mob_Wars))
Farmville = Farm Town - SlashKey.com

Zynga, Inc are making a killing by copying other peoples ideas, and improving on them.
Star*Dagger 19th October 2009, 21:35 Quote
I've given 1000$ dollar chips as tips, and more than once a month.
It is all relative, 1000$ is next to nothing in Vegas, Monaco or Baden Baden.
thehippoz 20th October 2009, 00:43 Quote
I can believe that.. my cousins are all playing mafia wars.. played it with them to level 50, it's too dull, like pimp wars actually.. but pimp wars had a strategy on being the best car thief, whore bomber ect.. problem with all the facebook games

whats nice for them is most of the facebook crowd have never played these games.. so to them inviting 100 people they don't know as friends to play a game is ok.. IccleD is dead on with zynga, they steal and make it better

with that kind of money on the line, living like huang back in 2007
Skutbag 25th October 2009, 02:04 Quote
I agree: one game concept we've all become accustomed to has been introduced to the masses: GRIND

If Zynga can churn these glorified spreadsheets out, and take money for it, then fine; I wish I'd thought that up first.

The quicker people get introduced to pure, unabasherd GRIND the quicker they'll be at the door asking for a more substantial experience. It wouldn't take a massively creative team to introduce some slightly deeper elements to any of these games, and I desperately hope that their player base starts asking for a richer experience. But maybe they just want to get to level X (when X = +1 over whatever my friends level is/are)
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