I'm reporting from Facebook's third annual developers conference, where 1500 of the entrepreneurs behind Facebook's 500,000 applications have gathered. Everyone wants to hear what CEO Mark Zuckerberg has in store for the platform, and how it'll affect their applications.
Before the keynote I spoke to Mark Pincus,the CEO of Facebook's biggest developer by far- Zynga.
Zynga may not be a household name, but its games are: "FarmVille" and "Mafia Wars" are two of the most popular applications on the web. Zynga's games have 235 million monthly users.
"Farmville" is the most popular game on Facebook with 81.4 million monthly users. FarmVille has 30 million virtual farms-- to give some context there are only 2 million real farms in the US.
Zynga has been profitable since 2007 and has over 600 employees. It won't comment on revenue numbers, but industry experts estimate that it generated $250 million in revenue last year and project its revenue will hit $460 million this year.
Pincus tells me that over 90 percent of the company's revenue comes from virtual goods. That's right, people shell out hundreds of millions of dollars for virtual goods to help them play the games.
Sounds crazy considering the pullback in consumer spending, but Pincus argues that spending 50 cents to play a game is a great deal, and a far more affordable one than any other gaming option.
Pincus insists he's not planning an IPO, despite rumors that the company plans to go public. Pincus has raised $219 million in financing, so he's not at all strapped for cash. He says he sees huge growth internationally. We'll see if he changes his mind about that IPO.
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