Interested in Buying Virtual Organic Blueberries? 9/3/2010 8:16:40 AM

Organic foods maker Cascadian Farm, situated in the state of Washington, was once known mainly for its high-quality organic foods in the real world — until it became part of Zynga’s wildly popular game Farmville.

The company  is now the brand behind the game’s new organic blueberries crop, which became available in the FarmVille Market on Monday and has already been purchased by more than 1 million players for 20 credits each. In total, 310 million Cascadian Farm organic blueberries have been planted by FarmVille players.

Cascadian Farm is touting this as the first in-game branded crop to ever appear in the FarmVille Market. Since the launch of the in-game blueberries, Cascadian Farm’s “Farmer Joe” — the man who tends the virtual farm — has received close to 5,000 friend requests on Facebook  The fact that FarmVille players are taking the extra step to friend the virtual farmer shows that there is a positive brand association between the crop and the company.

Branded virtual goods are set to take off in the next five years — in a big way. A report by social gaming platform Viximo and virtual goods platform Virtual Greats predicts that branded virtual goods (BVGs) will generate $150 million in 2013 and reach an annual revenue of $318 million by 2015.

Branded virtual goods currently make up just 1% of the $3.1 billion virtual goods industry (about $15 million). But recent successes, like Cascadia’s sale of 310 million organic blueberries on FarmVille, have made their potential for growth apparent. The report’s projection would represent a tremendous 113% compound annual growth rate over three years followed by an 84% rate for the next two years.The report indicates that people are willing to pay more for virtual goods if they’re associated with a brand

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