When you sit around playing Texas Hold 'Em for hours on Zynga, you can start to see how the addictive nature of the popular game can compel you to spend big bucks buying chips.
After all, you need a lot of chips to socialize with your fellow poker players by sending virtual drinks, chickens or dancing dwarfs.
Zynga's "Texas Hold 'Em," which can be played on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and hi5, was drawing 900,000 players a day last year. Apparently, it's those players who are driving the multi-million sales for the gaming site.
"Social gaming site Zynga is another one—they’re making something like $30 million to $40 million per year mostly from people buying Texas Hold ‘Em chips on Facebook," said Norwest venture capitalist, Tim Chang, in an interview with PaidContent.
Meanwhile, Silicon Alley Insider is told that Zynga is pulling in $50 million.
A source tells me these numbers are way off. And, if Zynga were pulling in such high numbers, why would it need to raise $29 million last year?
But clearly there is some big money to be made off of virtual goods. And, clearly it seems that Facebook may have missed an opportunity to capture this revenue stream.