The market for virtual goods and the potential it has the to be huge has been a topic for game developers and social platforms to salivate over in the recent months. More specifically, Zynga and Facebook who are gearing up to take a bigger slice of the quickly growing pie. Just recently, ThinkEquity LLC placed the market around $20 billion for 2014 and now PlaySpan and VG Market Study have put together some interesting findings that might justify the anticipation.
Their study concludes that 1 in 3 gamers who participate in online play spend money on virtual goods. Almost an entire 3rd of the online gaming community, 31%, have used real money to purchase virtual goods from a 3rd party. It also comes as no surprise that female gamers are more likely to spend more than men in many categories of games. For example, with casual games women spent $86 dollars on average as compared to $77 for men. They also purchased more from 1st and 3rd party publishers, $51 to $36 for 1st party and $62 to $28 for 3rd party publishers.
There are more exciting stats to come so hit the break.
Overall, MMOs account for 28%, social games make up 30% and console games own 51% of virtual purchases. Some of the reasons the general gamer population seems to be spending more is ease of purchase, which was cited by 32% of those that participated in the study and having more money to spend, 42%. More play time also seems to be playing its part with 67% saying they logged more hours this year compared to last. In the previous 12 months 48% of the gamer population had purchased in game currency and 72% say they will spend at least as much if not more this year than they did last year.
The point of this study was to aid companies in targeting their customers, which according to Robb Lewis, director of marketing at PlaySpan, could use some help.
The digital goods market may be enormous, but it's still part of the Wild Wild West in terms of targeting users based on behavior and spending preferences.
I think that, while everyone could do a better job targeting their customers with virtual goods, everyone from console game developers, web game developers and social platforms stand to benefit from a growing market that will probably have enough room for everyone to settle into and make more money. The interesting thing to watch over the next year will be who can find the most unique and effective way to position themselves to capture the growth early on.