Hi. I’m a Facebook user and I’m a Mafia Wars addict.
I’ve never been big Facebook user until after I actually discovered Mafia Wars. That game really hooked me on Facebook, and in the process I discovered how cool this social network is in finding long lost friends. And Facebook seems to have realized that Mafia Wars and the other games in the site is the ticket to profitability.
Facebook is currently testing a new payment scheme where it will get a cut each time a player buys an in-game item on the site. This will potentially earn Facebook a yummy piece of the financial pie that is already in the hundreds of millions being taken by Zynga, Inc., the creator of the some of the most popular games in Facebook, like Mafia Wars, and Farmville. Another company, Playfish, Inc., which makes Pet Society, is also a part of the pay system being tried out. With the social games market predicted to grow three-fold to $2 billion by 2012, this is the perfect time for Facebook to get in on the action.
The company is testing a payment system to gain a cut each time an online-game player buys a digital tractor, weapon or hat on the site. That would give Facebook a piece of the hundreds of millions of dollars that are being pulled in by Zynga Inc., creator of “Farmville” and “Mafia Wars,” and Playfish Inc., maker of “Pet Society.” The social-games market will almost triple to $2 billion by 2012, estimates ThinkEquity LLC.
Both Zynga and Playfish allow Facebok users to play its games for free but rely on selling virtual goods as part of its revenue. These items are sold through microtransactions. The companies’ success has made Facebook the largest game portal with over 100 million users.
The system being used by the site is Facebook Credits. The payment service will allow users to buy credits that they can use to buy items in different games. This is different from the present system where a player can only buy credits through the game he’s playing and only be able to use it in that game and nowhere else.
With new games coming (Civilization is particularly exciting), it will be awesome if Facebook finally earns some money from the social-network addicts that have made Facebook their virtual home.