Zynga, the online gaming publisher, is making a ton of money. Just how much? Well, earlier reports put revenue at something around $50 million, but some new numbers obtained by Sarah Lacy suggests that it’s closer to $100 million. And clearly, it’s accelerating. We’re hearing that the run rate for 2009 may even be well above that.
So in case it wasn’t already clear, there looks to be a bright future in the online gaming sphere and specifically around micro-transactions. That’s how Zynga makes most of its money. With some of its leading games on MySpace and Facebook, it charges users for playing time or for things like chips in poker. These small purchases which usually amount to only a few dollars at a time, start to add up quick. And that’s only with a small percentage of overall players opting to buy them.
And Zynga recently transitioned this model to the iPhone, but because the iPhone doesn’t yet allow for in-app purchases, it has been forced to sell expensive versions of its apps like Live Poker, with chips included. But that’s about to change with the iPhone 3.0 software due this summer. The new software’s in-app purchases could very well take Zynga’s revenues even higher.
Just last week, VentureBeat’s Eric Eldon speculated that Zynga, which is now the largest Facebook app developer, might be trying to raise another large round of funding — something to the tune of $30 million. Given these revenue numbers — and yes, Zynga is already profitable as well — that certainly doesn’t seem out of the question, but you have to wonder why. The company raised a $29 million round back in July of last year, and has raised $39 million total.