"Free Facebook games make $20 per user"

Written by Joe Martin

October 16, 2009 | 11:32

Tags: #farmville #free

Companies: #facebook

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.

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