« Steven Spielberg's New Show | Main | A History of Social Games »

May 27, 2010



The average was $90! Holy manoly.


Yes, that seems pretty substantial. My guess, though, from talking with people who follow this stuff more closely, is that $90 is the average because something like 12.35% of the people spent $9 and 0.65% of the people spent $1629. A few lvl 80 character sales can skew the numbers in significant ways. I didn't look at the report in detail -- maybe they break that down...


Greglas, It doesn't look like this study differentiates between "unsanctioned" MMO purchases and games that get their revenue from mincrotransaction-driven systems.

- If a microtransaction-driven game models rewards to encourage players to spend about half of a regular subscription-based game per month ($7.50), there's your $90.

- If you're a second-lifer, buying your second-life stuff with $L from the exchange, you count. I know enough SL'ers that spend MUCH more than $7.50/mo on their activities....

- The report mentions "iPhone users" as high virtual-goods-participants Those are probably the social games like "street wars" where $1 or $2 gets you "respect points" to pimp out your virtual crib & continue the battle against other gangs. $2 per week seems trivial to the guys that consume this stuff.

- "A net of 48 percent of buyers bought digital goods through a social network site" FARMVILLE.

Seems that, overall, this report's more about the legitimate and sanctioned RMT trade than the illicit unsanctioned trade.


(just to clarify- farmville was put as an example of that particular bullet... it isn't specifically identified in the article.


From the article:

"... more than one-fifth (21%) of spenders say they expect to spend more in the coming year.

Biggest spenders? iPhone owners, with 43% of them saying they made virtual goods purchases (up from 28% last year). Next came virtual worlds visitors, 41% of whom say they have bought digital goods."

  • 37% bought from a free web game
  • 31% from a social networking site
  • 18% from a subscription-based game
  • 11% from a virtual world

That gives you some idea of how these break down (and are growing). Finally, also from the article:

  • 57% bought from within the game
  • 38% from the game's official site
  • 8% from another player (gold farming?)
  • 8% "other" (gold farming?)

What this says to me is that while unsanctioned purchases are a persistent issue, they are not an overarching one: the large majority of purchases happen in sanctioned ways.


Nice, this gives me good hope for the health of social gaming. With the restrictions that Facebook has been adding and with the playerbase dwindling, I'm happy to see there are still players out there willing to pay to play.

Expedition Egypt

The comments to this entry are closed.