Users spending more than $3m per day on Zynga's online games

Zynga, the developer of Facebook distractions such FarmVille and Words with Friends, said that users are now spending more than $3m per day on its addictive games.

The company, which floated on the stock market in the US last year, posted maiden results that surpassed Wall Street estimates, as millions of users spent wildly on "virtual goods" such as cows and sheep for FarmVille and skyscrapers for CityVille.

Some 54 million people play Zynga games every day, and 240 million take part every month, the company revealed. And while most play inside Facebook, more and more are downloading the games for phones, said Mark Pincus, the company's founder and chief executive.

"Zynga set new records in the year in terms of audience size, revenues and bookings," said Mr Pincus, announcing results for 2011. "We also saw great momentum in mobile and advertising and ended the year with a strong pipeline of new games."

Investors have been engaged in a guessing game over Zynga's financial results ever since it floated in December, and its shares have traded in a wide range around their sale price of $10. They have surged this month on revelations that payments to Facebook, which takes a cut of in-game sales, now account for 12 per cent of the social network's revenues.

In the final three months of last year, Zynga revenues were $311m, 59 per cent higher than the same period in 2010. The company recorded a quarterly loss of $435m because of the cost of stock-based compensation for employees. Zynga shares were $13.50 last night.

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