Rumors are swirling that Facebook is seeing dollar signs in the astounding number of mini-transactions that take place everyday on the site’s most popular social game, FarmVille.
The game, in which users maintain their own virtual farms, currently has nearly 75 million monthly active users. Players do things that normal farmers do—like fertilize, buy tractors, and care for animals—except, of course, the whole time they’re planted in front of computer screens and logged into Facebook.
FarmVille players don’t need to spend money playing the game, but they often do. By purchasing credits called “FarmVille coins” from gaming company Zynga, they can get things to improve their farms, like seeds or crops. Paying real money for virtual vegetables may not seem like a big business, but, as it turns out, it is. Zynga reportedly made close to $250 million last year, and virtual goods account for 90 percent of its revenue.