Social gaming will be $5 billion industry by 2015, Parks Associates says

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One billion dollars?OK guys, we get it, social games are going to make lots of money in the next five years. I'm sorry, did you say $5 billion by 2015? Alright, now you've got me. Market research company Parks Associates predicts that by 2015, social games will be worth a sweet $5 billion thanks to in-game advertising and virtual goods sales. Their forecast is based off the fact the social games already raked in $1 billion in 2010 alone.

"Gaming on social networks has quickly become the most visible category of online games," research analyst at Parks Associates Pietro Macchiarella said. "Right now more than 250 million people play games like Zynga'sCityVille and FarmVille on Facebook every month, and both game developers and marketers have taken notice. Big brands such as McDonald's and 7-Eleven have carried out cross-promotions with existing social games."

And by social games, they generally mean Zynga, who has ran promotions with not only McDonald's and 7-Eleven, but even adult-oriented companies like Farmers Insurance. "The abilities to measure the efficacy of different gameplay mechanisms, to tweak game design in near-real time, and to test new models are advantages that traditional gaming companies will never have," Macchiarella said. "Zynga's huge market share is the best proof of the competitive advantage made possible by properly leveraging consumer data."
Social gaming in 2015
And there you have it. As the industry itself grows bigger, so will Zynga and it will become even more difficult for other developers to compete. To the rest of the Facebook game creators, Parks Associates seems to suggest to try playing the Zynga game, but that's an impossible battle from the start. Zynga's notoriety alone will defend it from encroaching competitors. The only way to change the dynamic of this industry--both in the name of profit and play--is to disrupt it with new ideas. Time to get crackin', and there's not much of it left.

[Image Credit: New Line Cinema]

How do you think social games will look in 2015? How close to heart do you think social gaming companies will take this prediction? Who do you predict will disrupt the industry in the future? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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