Rumors and speculation about just how much money Facebook social gaming giant Zynga is making annually have flown throughout 2009, with numbers usually quoted in the $40-50 million dollar range. This figure may have seriously undervalued Zynga's money-making potential. Sources now report that Zynga's annual income figures are actually $100 million per year, according to BusinessWeek.
Other stats for Zynga include 2.5 million players per day for its Texas Hold 'Em social app and 45 million MUA across its entire suite of games. Of that figure, about 40 million come from Facebook – and represent roughly one-fifth of Facebook's estimated population of 200 million total users.
Right now Zynga employs 250 people receiving "Google-like" compensation. BusinessWeek confirms that, if the $100 million figure is accurate, the vast majority of it is being generated by the 2-10% of the Zynga userbase that spend money on virtual goods and currency in games.
Perhaps most interesting at all, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus finally addresses the problem of fraud in gaming environments where lots of real money is changing hands. Complaints about the issue have shown up frequently in comments sections here at Virtual Goods News, suggesting it may be one of the next big issues in this space.
"We've found once you get into these digital-only goods and services
there's massive opportunity for fraud," Pincus said. "We couldn't find
a single company that could manage or solve that problem for us. We had
to build the whole infrastructure in-house. We had to go out and get
relationships with credit-card processing companies."
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