Facebook and Zynga in particular have become the center pieces for micro-transactions, social gaming and in-game purchasing habits... so much so that the activity on Microsoft's Xbox Live and Playstation's Playstation Store are often overlooked.
Tied to the recent price break on the Playstation 3 system (which moved nearly 500,000 units in September - 2x their August number), they announced that 650 million pieces of content have been downloaded to date via the Playstation Store.
That is a very big number considering that: - there are 31 million registered Playstation Network accounts ... an average of 20+ downloads per user - the time online for the Playstation is significantly different than a Facebook user (and more costly) This was also announced before Playstation's Facebook Connect integration went live (November 16th).
Whether you believe that Farmville is the future of gaming, it is tough to argue that it doesn't represent key elements of what traditional gaming has and will become:
- Inherently social both during and between game play (Facebook Connect is an example) - Featuring in-game micro-payments (a greater percentage of those 650m downloads will shift to small, paid orders) - Cross platform (and I do not mean Xbox vs. PS3 vs. Wii: game play to some degree will exist between the game itself, site's like Facebook and the community - via the online stores and Facebook Connect enabled micro-sites)