Social gaming market to pass $1 billion in 2011

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The social gaming market is expected to pass $1 billion this year, thanks to a rising number of users and a projected increase in advertising, according to research group eMarketer.

That marks a 28% increase over last year’s market, which totaled $856 million.

Nearly 62 million Internet users in the U.S. -- or 27% of web surfers -- are expected to play at least one game on a social network per month in 2011, up from 53 million last year, eMarketer said.

Revenue from virtual goods will continue to bring in the biggest share of dollars this year and next. And marketers are expected to spend $192 million to advertise on social networking games, up 60% from last year.

“Forecasts of audience and revenue growth present an opportunity for marketers to promote their brands through social games,” said Paul Verna, author of the upcoming report “Social Gaming: Marketers Make Their Moves.”