Facebook Games Drive Economic Growth

Facebook gaming isn't just fun and, well, games. It's serious business, representing one of the fastest growing areas of the economy.

Facebook gaming isn’t just fun and, well, games. It’s serious business, representing one of the fastest growing areas of the economy.

A special report by IBISWorld counts social gaming as one of ten specific industries that are adding value to the global economy to an extent that surpasses other sectors.

IBISWorld defines this value in terms of growth in revenues over the past decade along with performance forecast through 2017.

Social game development ranks seventh on this list. The fastest-growing companies in the sector are Zynga, Electronic Arts and Walt Disney.

Here’s how IBISWorld summarizes the social gaming sector:

The accelerating speed and accessibility of the internet has led to skyrocketing growth for web-based industries. Over the past five years, social networks, in particular, have become an integral part of life for many consumers, connecting them with others and helping them find a cheap alternative source of entertainment.

The social network game development industry owes its existence to these needs, and as sites like Facebook have grown exponentially, so too have social network game developers: Since 2002, this industry grew an average annual 128 percent.

The industry’s games are usually free to play; developers earn revenue through the sale of virtual goods that enhance game-play and through advertisements shown onscreen. Unlike most of the economy, the recession was a boon for the industry because under- or unemployed consumers spent extra leisure time with these low-cost games rather than with expensive console games or software.

In 2012, industry revenue is expected to grow 20 percent, and over the next five years, revenue is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 22 percent.