In Brief: Virtual Goods Updates from hi5 and OutSpark

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In addition to the launch of Facebook Connect for iPhone this past weekend at SXSW in Austin, social network hi5 and online MMORPG operator Outspark made interesting announcements during a panel discussion on virtual goods.

During the panel, hi5’s Andrew Sheppard announced that the company was opening a new API around its hi5 Coins virtual currency which launched late last year. Now, any hi5 app developer can employ hi5 Coins in their apps – neither Facebook nor MySpace have implemented this kind of shared “universal currency.”

OutSparkAlso during the panel, OutSpark’s Susan Choe announced that OutSpark had achieved a $50 average revenue per user (ARPU) “monthly through virtual goods sales.” Some people thought she misspoke, according to Virtual Goods News, with most assuming she meant “average revenue per paying user” (ARPPU). Even if that is the case, $50 is an impressive figure.