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Social gaming to hit $5 billion by 2015

Use of behavioural data key driver of market growth and profitability

The world market for games on social networks is set to increase five-fold between 2010 and 2015, creating revenues in excess of $5 billion - according to research firm Park Associates.

The company estimates that more than 250 million people currently play games such as Zynga's FarmVille and CityVille on Facebook every month, attracting major cross promotions from mainstream brands.

Increased monetisation through microtransactions and virtual items has also seen the segment become highly profitable for successful companies.

However, Park Associates analysts suggest that the easy access to behavioural data is the market's most useful advantage of traditional games.

"The abilities to measure the efficacy of different gameplay mechanisms, to tweak game design in near-real time, and to test new models are advantages that traditional gaming companies will never have," suggests the research firm.

"Zynga's huge market share is the best proof of the competitive advantage made possible by properly leveraging consumer data."

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