30 August 2010

Virtual farm games absorb real money, real lives

People spend not just real time but also real money growing these crops in virtual farming games that combine the allure of both games and social networking in what is usually a cute and deceptively simple package. They can be addictive: many users come back at least once a day to micromanage their farms and deal with other users' requests. On average, the users of these types of games are spending anywhere from a few minutes a game to the greater part of an hour. The companies behind these titles are raking in millions of dollars from people who toil on land that doesn't even exist, and that number continues to grow. A research report from eMarketer in June said social games generated more than $725 million last year in the U.S. alone and projected three times that revenue in 2011.