Gaming is blowing up on Facebook, and the social networking site hopes to take a cut of the very real revenue generated by virtual interactions. Analysts think credits and other services bought to enhance the likes of “Farmville” and “Mafia Wars” will be trading at a clip of $1 billion a year on the site by 2012. If Facebook Credits become the currency of choice and the company follows PayPal’s rates, it would mean a cut of $55 million, notes Bloomberg.
The viability of online games with “virtual goods and microtransactions” is not lost on Facebook, an exec says. “Two years ago, we never considered it.” And investors see developers working in the field—as opposed to traditional “packaged” console or PC games—as a good bet. “There’s only one deal I regret not doing, and that’s Zynga,” one says of the company behind “Mafia Wars.” “I was afraid the valuation was too high. Man, was that stupid.”