Time To Stop Laughing: Selling Virtual Goods, Zynga Profits On Revenues Close To $50 Million

In Asia, lots of companies make lots of money creating free-to-use, Web-based games that draw lots of users who then happily pay small amounts for little add-ons over and over.

San Francisco-based Zynga, which makes multiplayer games like the popular Texas Hold’em for social networks Facebook and MySpace, is one of the companies trying to prove the model can work in the US too.

So far, so good. A source tells us Zynga turned in 2008 revenues near $50 million and the Economist reported in December that Zynga’s been profitable — “cash-flow positive,” they phrased it — since September 2007.

That’s big and — we’ll admit — surprising news. Mark it down: Widgetmakers and social games creators can make money selling “virtual goods” on and off the Facebook platform. It’s good news for startups like Playfish, Iminlikewithyou and Pyscho Monkey.

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