Facebook game developers earned $1.4 billion in 2011

When it comes to monetization on Facebook, there is of course a bevy of advertising space, but what's more interesting is the uprise in Facebook games. According to a presentation at today's Game Developers Conference, more than $1.4 billion was paid to game developers on the social platform last year.

So you can just imagine how much Facebook's cut was. "As early as 2010, we didn't have a dedicated game team. Now we have 40 full-time people on games," Facebook games product manager Matt Wyndowe was quoted as saying. The entire genre of "social games" was practically invented by Facebook, and it thrives on so-called "freemium" titles.

That is to say, almost any game that's successful on Facebook is free to play. That way it can tap into as many of the 845 million users as possible. Then, once it sucks players in, it hits them up for money to buy in-game items vital to the game's progression. Add the social element of players' friends being part of the experience, and it's a recipe for gold. "If you make a really high quality game, our job is to bring you massive distribution and make you a lot of money," Wyndowe said.

[via VentureBeat]