By now most people know that a huge chunk of Facebook’s revenue comes from the apps - primarily games - that the social network’s users can add to their accounts. Facebook has dramatically increased the amount of money and personnel they invest in those apps’ developers in recent months.
Speaking at the Game Developers Conference this morning, Facebook’s games product manager Matt Wyndowe revealed that the company has paid over $1.4 billion to the developers of games and other apps for Facebook. He also said that since 2010 Facebook has created a team that focuses full-time on games. The team, which consists of 40 people, meets weekly with Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Brett Seyler and with Mark Zuckerberg.
Gaming on Facebook has gone from a neat gimmick to a major site feature in a relatively short span of time. Games like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Words With Friends, and more draw the attention of huge numbers of Facebook’s users. Recent data has shown that Facebook gaming is even eating into the playing time of console gamers. While the Facebook gaming trend is not without its problems, it has generated massive amounts of revenue for developers and for Facebook. In fact, one of the biggest developers of Facebook games - Zynga - reported last month that their earnings for the fourth quarter of 2011 were up a staggering 91% over the fourth quarter of 2010. The company’s total revenue for the quarter was $1.14 billion. Gaming revenue made up the vast majority of that money, generating $1.07 billion.
All in all, games on Facebook are good for developers and Facebook alike. Considering the amount of money Facebook has invested in game developers, it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon.