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BizReport : Social Marketing : September 29, 2010

Demand for virtual goods continues to rise

The trend for paying something for nothing, particularly on social networks and in social games, is set to continue with the U.S. virtual goods market doubling from 2009's $1.1 billion to $2.1 billion by 2011, reports Inside Network.

by Helen Leggatt

If you've ever been trapped inside a social game, such as FarmVille, you'll appreciate the extent to which it can suck you in and bring forth a competitive streak. It's no wonder, then, that those who are truly committed to a social game are happy to pay out money to get ahead.

In addition, social games are free. To that end, players see small micro-payments as, pun intended, a small price to pay for their entertainment.

Such is the popularity of social games and applications that a new report from Inside Network, "Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2010 - 2011", forecasts the virtual goods market will almost double from 2009's $1.1 billion to $2.1 billion in 2011.

"With an up-to-$750 million acquisition of Playdom by Disney, an up-to-$400 million acquisition of Playfish by Electronic Arts, the acquisition of Tapulous by Disney, and hundreds of millions of dollars in venture investments, virtual goods are impacting businesses across the media landscape," says Inside Network.

"Virtual goods, and the companies that create them, may be bringing the largest disruption entertainment, communication, and e-commerce infrastructure businesses have seen in years."

The fastest growing segment of the virtual goods market last year was Facebook with $835 million and, as reported in the New York Times, it remains the fastest growing segment of the market.

Tags: social games, social networks, virtual goods

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