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Facebook's success hasn't only netted its founders, early employees and investors billions of dollars, the world's largest social network has built an ecosystem that has served as the foundation for other businesses collectively worth billions.
From large social gaming companies like Zynga all the way to individual developers building Facebook apps out of their bedrooms, Facebook's launch of a development platform in 2006 proved to be a game-changer for online entrepreneurs.
According to mobile analytics firm Flurry, the amount of time U.S. consumers spend per day interacting with mobile apps surpassed time spent browsing the web in 2011.
In 2013, television will be the target. This month, the average consumers has spent 168 minutes each day in front of the small screen and 127 minutes in front of the even smaller screen. If mobile apps continue their march next year, they could conceivably leave television in the rear view mirror.
For companies in the business of making and selling video games, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" may be a fair way to describe the past several years.
Like so many industries, the video game industry has seen major changes in a very short period of time. That has created huge opportunities for new and established players alike, but has also produced significant challenges.
According to critics of the deal, Zynga overpaid for the game just as it was hitting its peak, it will never recoup the purchase price and it could even be scantly remembered by consumers in a year's time.
Rumors of social gaming's death may not be exaggerated.
There's been increasing discussion about the possibility social gaming has finally jumped the shark this year, and Zynga's big drop in daily active users sent investors in the social gaming giant rushing for the exits earlier this week.
After a rocky start, Facebook's life as a publicly-traded company has settled down a bit. Despite healthy skepticism about its prospects in light of a $100bn valuation, its stock price has stabilised (for now) while industry observers and investors are taking stock of its actual -- not hypothetical -- business.
But one of Facebook's best friends, social gaming giant Zynga, hasn't been so fortunate. Today, its stock plunged to under $5, its lowest level since the company went public last year.
In the market for farming supplies?
If you're looking for a new tractor or some seeds, American Express is hoping that you'll use one of its new prepaid cards to complete the purchase. On Farmville, of course.
When Zynga shelled out $200m for OMGPOP, the maker of Draw Something, the social gaming giant was buying what was, at the time, the owner of the hottest mobile game in the world.
But despite its popularity and the fact that it was generating hundreds of thousands of dollars each day in revenue, the steep price Zynga paid for a company that was once on the brink of failure naturally raised questions about whether it overpaid.
Social gaming on Facebook may be past its prime, but don't tell social gaming juggernaut Zynga that casual gaming is.
The company, which went public late last year, yesterday reported $321m in revenue in the first quarter of 2012 -- its highest quarterly revenue figure ever. All told, bookings rose to $329m, up 15% year-over-year, while the $321m in revenue represented a more impressive 32% year-over-year increase.
One of the biggest drivers of Facebook's success has arguably been the rise of social gaming.
From Mafia Wars to Farmville, Facebook's platform has become a virtual gaming console of sorts for millions upon millions of consumers, creating a multi-billion dollar virtual currency opportunity for Facebook that it's exploiting with Facebook Credits.
It can't be surprising to anyone with a smart phone (or has been on any form of public transportation) that mobile gaming is on the rise. Developers are scrambling to get the next big hit like Draw Something as the mobile and social game giants, Rovio and Zynga, are continuing to dominate the market.
According to a new infographic by businessdegree.net, more than $12 billion was generated by mobile gaming in 2011 with 34% of the top grossing apps in the app store using the freemium model. Once someone is hooked, they'll continue to spend a few dollars to continue to enhance their play. On average freemium games make $12.92 a month per user.
Who doesn't love a good success story and Draw Something is a perfect example of this. We first reported on it's phenomenal growth of 20 million downloads in five weeks and then saw as Zynga acquired OMGPOP, the maker of the app, for $200 million.
The team at Couchbase has put together an infographic showing the progression of Draw Something's growth and the number of servers it took to keep it going.