Game-related startup companies raised $600 million throughout 2009, according to GamesBeat's analysis. And while $600 million is a lot of money if you're, say, trying to sell a shooter based on the art of modern warfare, it's not quite that much when you're an up-and-coming game developer. Total investments in the field were actually down by 36% since last year. That's not a bubble bursting, but it does mean that startup investors might be a little more careful with their money in the year to come.
The biggest winners in the scene include Zynga, makers of Mafia Wars and a few other popular Facebook titles, who nabbed a big $180 million investment from a Russian technology company, and Playdom. You may not have played Sorority Life, the company's MySpace hit, but Lightspeed Venture Partners must have, because it invested $43 million in the company. If there's a theme here, it's social networking and online games: PopCap is probably the highest traditional game developer on the list, but even its $22.5 million investment was marked for putting its games on the web, mobile platforms, and social networks. Of course, that pull doesn't include the buck we gave them for Peggle.