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Virtual goods revenue to hit $7.3 billion this year

As companies like Zynga find ways to turn profits on the simplest of virtual goodies, such revenue continues to climb.

Between 2007 and 2010, virtual goods revenue increased 245 percent, according to a study released today from market-research firm In-Stat.

According to the company, consumers will purchase $7.3 billion worth of virtual goods in 2010, up from the $2.1 billion they spent in 2007. The company's statistics include revenue generated from social-networking titles like Zynga's FarmVille, and casual games both online and on mobile phones.

In-Stat found that 70 percent of the revenue generated from virtual goods originated from consumers in Asia and Pacific countries, while the remaining 30 percent of the cash was generated from sources in the Americas and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Going forward, In-Stat expects virtual goods revenue to explode. By 2014, the company said providers will generate more than $14 billion in revenue.

In-Stat's findings expand on statistics released earlier this year from Magid and Associates that examined how people buy virtual goods in a game. That research firm reported 13 percent of all consumers with Internet access have bought virtual goods in the past 12 months. Going forward, Magid and Associates expects 21 percent of Web users to buy virtual goods in the next year.

Magid and Associates also found that the average virtual goods buyer spends $92 on products each year.