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Print 34 comment(s) - last by MrBlastman.. on Jan 4 at 11:32 AM

Gamers are spending billions on virtual goods in the U.S.

When a lot of people think of gamers, they automatically think of mostly male teens who sit around a game console or computer screen all day playing alone. The reality is that the average gamers today are in their 30's and have a significant disposable income to support the expensive hobby. More and more women are also becoming gamers.

A new study recently found that women tend to be more hardcore gamers than men are, but they also tend to lie about how much time they spend playing games. More and more people are also playing games that are closely tied to social networks like MySpace and Facebook.

These gamers often report that they play the games not so much for the game itself, but to interact with friends and family. The virtual economy that was created to cater to the goods that many of these social games sell is booming. BBC News reports that the virtual economy in the U.S. is set to make billions selling goods that don’t really exist. The sale of virtual goods is one of the hottest trends in technology and is showing no signs of letting up.

Venture Capitalist Jeremy Liew said, "This [virtual goods] is just an exploding part of the gaming business right now. It is the most exciting area in gaming."

Liew's company Lightspeed Venture Partners has invested about $10 million in virtual goods so far. He said, "We have seen companies go from nothing in the last 18-24 months to tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue."

Virtual goods like fertilizer and seeds in farming games are big sellers and there are a myriad of other games that sell virtual goods to players seeking to get ahead. Social gaming firm Playfish says that virtual goods are key to its success.

Playfish's Tom Sarris told BBC News, "Virtual items within the Playfish games are the centre point of the way in which Playfish derives its revenue." He continued saying, "We have two different revenue models. The primary is the sale of virtual goods and the second is in-game advertising, but that is a very minor aspect at this stage."

Liew says that making the lion's share of revenue from digital goods is very common for social gaming companies. He says that virtual goods often make up 90-95% of the revenue for the game developers. Virtual goods and the games that sell them are attracting women in increasing numbers and the players don’t consider themselves to be average gamers.

Social gamer Emma Cox told BBC News she only plays to keep in contact with friends and family. She said, "I am not a traditional gamer. I don't buy console games or go out and spend $40 on a game for my PlayStation." She continued saying, "I am playing online games for a different reason and it's instant gratification, playing with friends, showing off to others and have them see all the virtual goods you have bought for yourself and even for them."

Cox and other players like her buy things like digital birthday cards, bottles of digital champagne, seeds and fertilizer, and other items for virtual games. Gamers and the game firms behind the popular titles liken the buying of digital goods to renting movies. Cox said, "The way we look at it is it's no different from paying money to go and see a movie or rent a DVD. What you are paying for is the experience and that notion of entertainment."



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RE: Disturbing
By Hiawa23 on 12/31/2009 2:38:33 PM , Rating: 0
Didnt anyone learn anything from the financial crisis? The wrongdoings of the financial sector was only a tiny piece of the puzzle, as a result of it crumbling, it exposed the great weakness that is consumer overspending.

What does the financial crisis have to with me as a PS3, Xbox 360, Wii deciding on buying some DLC, or other stuff online?

You guys think to much. Worry about what you buy, but to tell others what they should be doing, well, really is no one's business.

Some say this is disturbing but I really don't get this mentality cause if I can afford to & want the new map pack for Uncharted 2 or Gears of War, I am going to buy it.

I don't think many people in America have lost sight on the value of money at all, especially what we are going through right now, & not even sure you can even make a claim like that. I don't worry about what other adults do with their money, I don't tell them what do with & how they should value money, all I can do is do me. You do you.

If someone wants to waste their money on videogames, movies, beer, food, porn, name your poison, or pleasure, depending on whom you ask, then more power to you.


RE: Disturbing
By Hiawa23 on 12/31/2009 2:43:33 PM , Rating: 1
You guys think too much. I just bought the Africa dynamic background for my PS3 in the Sony store for $2.99. Did I need it, no, did I have to have it no, but I wanted it, & it looks real nice on my HDTV, I guess base on what some of you have said, I did not need that either, but, life is too short not to enjoy it, & I work everyday so I can buy the things I want. You do you, I will do me.


RE: Disturbing
By MrBlastman on 1/4/2010 11:32:37 AM , Rating: 2
You are absolutely free to spend your money however you like. It still doesn't mean though that everything you spend your money on is useful or of any value (except perhaps to yourself). Even that is not neccesarily true in that it is valuable to you, as I have known people who just spend money to collect items/things and to have them without ever really using them at all.

Americans have become obsessed with pissing money down the drain. The problem is, much of the generation that lived through the great depression has either passed on or are so old they have passed their peak earning/spending years to provide any great influence on the majority spending base. People forget how years ago money was hard to come by and spending it was a big decision as it was not easily replaced.

This problem has been exacerbated by the extension of credit that _was_ so easy to come by. It was a simple swipe of a card and you got your next fix that lasted for a few fleeting seconds and then it was off to another one. The amount of money that is spent on things with little or no resale value has exploded in recent years. I was watching my friends father-in-law over Christmas weekend play some silly game called Farmville. Now, I don't use Facebook nor have ever seen the game but was intrigued at my friend hyping it constantly. After watching it a while I was less amused by the game(it really _is_ quite dull as the competitive potential for it is nil) and more amused by how they tried to hook people into continuing to play--and, more importantly, how they tried to hook people into paying for virtual cash which could be used to buy things only accesible with said cash (which could not be sold to other players I believe)--and if you did not buy the cash, you had to wait for a painfully long time to finally earn enough to use it. This was very amusing to me and alarming at the same time. People that bought this virtual cash really pissed it down the drain to then buy a virtual good which couldn't be bought nor sold.

I suppose, in the end, you have to weigh the old time versus money choice and decide which of the two you have more of. For those with the means, they are free to spend it as they will. It still doesn't mean they have much of physical "worth" at the end of the day.

There are two types of people in the world throughout their lifetime--those who live to work (they constantly spend and have little of true net gain so in order to continue they have to keep earning more) and many of which work into their seventies and eighties, and then there are those who work to live (they spend frugally realizing that each purchase is a major decision and only do so after realizing utility and intrinsic resalable value in the good at question) who typically retire and are able to sit back and relax in their elder years.

Who do you want to be?


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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