September 15, 2010
Stanford Graduate School of Business
This case study profiles the high-growth social games industry where users playED games like Farmville and Mafia wars on social networks like Facebook and MySpace, with the goal of socializing with friends and/or meeting new people. By 2009, the social games industry was expectED to grow to 250 million people playing, up from just 50 million one year ago. By the end of 2009, social gaming had gone from being considerED the “wild west” of gaming in the U.S. to one that was a bright spot in the gaming industry (where video game and console sales were declining at a rate of 20 percent a year), taken seriously by all of the industry players, including traditional publishers like Electronic Arts. By the end of 2009, the world of social gaming was an exciting industry, and one with an open-endED future. As the industry continuED to grow and develop, U.S. social games players had all eyes on Asia where companies had innovatED in tERMs of monetization models, new platforms like mobile and game content.