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Casual gaming will push over the billion dollar threshold as social games like FarmVille experience rapid growth this year.
Research firm eMarketer estimates a US revenue of $1.09 billion, up from last year’s $856 million. They also predict advertising to ride the wave with $192 million to be spent on marketing for social gaming this year, up 60 percent from last year.

As these gaming platforms grow, developers like Zynga (creator of FarmVille) that dominate the market are finding new ways to capitalise on their stronghold of up to 62 million US internet users alone for advertising purposes and the sale of virtual goods.

“Some campaigns even combine virtual and real-world items, expanding the gaming experience beyond social networks like Facebook and Myspace,” said Paul Verna, author of the eMarketer report.

Virtual goods are sold to fewer than six percent of social gamers in the US, yet the revenue from this limited demographic is predicted to hit US$653 dollars this year.

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