It appears that the majority of Facebook's $1.4 billion paid out to app developers in 2011 has ended up in the pockets of Zynga. This week at the Games Developers Conference, Facebook's games product manager Matt Wyndowe trumpeted how much Facebook app creators had earned on the platform, a number that was originally reported when it announced its IPO. But with Zynga's yearly earnings now known, that $1.4 billion spread out across all of Facebook's developers looks a little different.
Zynga reported yearly revenue from online games for 2011 as $1.06 billion. While the company makes money from games in other ways, such as iOS and Android, it admitted in its IPO filing last year that "substantially all" of its gaming revenue comes from Facebook:
Facebook is the primary distribution, marketing, promotion and payment platform for our games. We generate substantially all of our revenue and players through the Facebook platform and expect to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Considering these numbers, it's possible that Zynga received as much as 70 percent of Facebook's payout to developers in 2011. Even if you allow for a very healthy margin of error, Zynga's proportion is still well above half. While that percentage is not overly shocking considering how much Zynga contributes to Facebook's bottom line, it does put Facebook's $1.4 billion number in a very different light — at least for any developer not named "Zynga."