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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : May 31, 2010

Report: More consumers spend more real money on virtual goods

Sales of virtual goods in North America are continuing to rise according to a recent report from research firm Magid Associates and online game monetization company PlaySpan, but where are they being purchased from?

by Helen Leggatt

The report reveals that around 13% of Americans aged 12 to 64 with Internet access have purchased virtual goods in the past twelve months, spending an average of $99 per person. That's an increase in purchasers of 1% and an increase in spend of 14% on 2008, when virtual goods buyers spent an average of $87 per person.

Overall, 21% of those who had already purchased virtual goods said they planned to spend more in the next 12 months. Indeed, a recent study by currency and payments solution provider Social Gold found that over half of virtual goods customers make repeat purchases.

The Magid/PlaySpam report found that 16% of those who purchased virtual goods said they did so using Facebook's recently-implemented Credits system.

Where are most consumers purchasing virtual goods? The report breaks it down as follows:

- 57% say they have made purchases within a game
- 38% purchase virtual goods within an official website of a virtual world or game
- 37% say they have made a purchase in a free, web-based game
- 31% via a social network
- 29% in a multiplayer computer game
- 29% in a game on a social network site
- 16% at an e-commerce site like PlaySpan.

"With the proliferation of smartphone users, and players becoming more comfortable paying for items within virtual worlds and social networks, Magid believes there is a huge opportunity for developers and publishers to capitalize on this growing multi-billion dollar industry, especially as virtual credits and pre-paid payment options become more widely accepted," said Mike Vorhaus, President, Magid Advisors.

Tags: online games, social games, virtual goods

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