Social gaming revenues, barely existent in 2008, registered a sustained growth, from $76 million worldwide in 2008 to $639 million in 2009. Also, Screen Digest estimates that those revenues will reach to $826 million this year.
According to eMarketer, the growth rate will be of 29% this year, of 24% in 2011 and will continue to grow with double-digits through 2014. Revenues include consumer spending on micro-transactions as well as game operator revenues from offers and advertising.
Many social gamers continue to play without paying, but a sizable minority are purchasing virtual goods and other in-game content.
Another survey, by PlaySpan, found that 33% of online gamers had exchanged real money for virtual currency, items or content in a social networking game. That study found the medium amount spent per year on social networking games was $50, which exceeds median spending on less casual online games like massively multiplayer role-playing games ($40) and console games with an online component ($20).