Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011, Is Here

By webm Comment

If 2010 is remembered as the year that games on social networks became a billion dollar business, 2011 is quickly becoming the year that the industry is starting to mature. Facebook is mandating Credits effective July 1st, creating massive changes in the monetization ecosystem, last year’s hit games are fighting for their lives, and new developers and games are climbing the leaderboards. At the same time, larger players are consolidating smaller studios and teams, and large media companies and traditional game developers continue to plot their social gaming strategies.

That’s why we’re excited to announce today the release of a new original study in our Inside Virtual Goods series by co-authors Justin Smith and Charles Hudson that is exclusively focused on spending and usage patterns in the social gaming market, entitled Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011. The second annual installment of this report.

Most of the studies on player spending and usage patterns in social games over the last year have actually been conducted by industry vendors. Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 is our exclusive independent look at the virtual goods spending and behavior patterns of social game players on Facebook — data you won’t find anywhere else.

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Get Annual Membership (Includes Report + 3 Additional Quarterly Issues): $2,495
OR Buy Single Report: $995

About the Report

Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 gives you an inside view of the market at this critical juncture in the intersection of social networking and online games.

We have surveyed nearly 2,000 players of social games on Facebook from around the world and across the demographic spectrum. Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 is the most in-depth independent survey of player behavior and spending patterns in the social gaming market.

What We Cover

  1. Spending Habits and Payment Methods in Top Games – It’s easy to compare games based on audience numbers, but which games monetize better? What payment methods do players use most often in top games? How is the shift to Credits affecting player behavior? We investigate how spending patterns compare across top social games.
  2. Frequency of Play and Methods of Game Discovery – As Facebook has cut down on developer access to viral channels, designing an engaging and viral game is becoming both increasingly important and challenging. We investigate which games people play most frequently, and which methods of social game discovery are most effective for top games.
  3. Demographic Differences by Region, Age, and Gender – While the social gaming market is increasingly global, the audience is also becoming increasingly diverse by age and gender. How do different segments of the audience differ in terms of spending and usage patterns inside social games? We take an in depth look.
  4. Brand Recall for Social Games – How important are brands, and how well can users identify developers of top games? We investigate brand recall amongst social game players.

See the full table of contents below:

Table of Contents

I. Methodology and Respondents

1. Introduction
  • About Inside Virtual Goods
  • About the Authors
  • Survey Objectives
2. Research Methodology
  • Target Population
  • Respondent Acquisition Method
  • Survey Structure
  • Potential for Bias
3. Survey Respondents
  • Description of Total Respondent Population
  • Total Number of Respondents
  • Overall Breakdown

II. Overall Results

4. Favorite Game
  • Distribution of Favorite Game
  • Frequency of Play
  • Favorite Game Discovery
  • With Whom Do You Play?
  • Spending on Favorite Game
5. Payments
  • Frequency of Payment Methods
  • Consumer Perception of Facebook Credits
6. Play Patterns, Spending, and Brand Recall for Top Games
  • Frequency of Play in Top Games
  • Spending in Top Games
  • Aided Brand Recall for Top Games

7. Mobile Platform and Game Adoption by Social Game Players

  • Smart Device Ownership
  • Mobile Games Played by Active Social Games Players
  • In-Game Mobile Purchase Activity by Active Social Gamers

III. Demographic Differences in Usage Patterns and Monetization

8. Regional Differences

  • Game Discovery and Spending
  • Favorite Game
  • Payment Types
9. Age and Gender Differences
  • Who are the Social Gaming “Whales”?
  • Spend Across Games


  • Survey Questions

More Data, More Actionable Insights

In 2009 and 2010, social games began to show what kind of value can be created on top of social networks. 2011 will be an even more important year as the industry continues to mature.

Social gaming, powered by virtual goods, is this year’s industry to watch. If you’re involved, or are considering jumping in, Inside Virtual Goods will be one of your most important tools.

One year of original data and exclusive in-depth reports delivered on a quarterly basis is $2,495 and contains:

  • A detailed overview of the current state of the industry
  • Specific estimates on market size by segment
  • Diagnosis of key opportunities and issues by segment

Get The Annual Membership

Get Annual Membership (Includes Report + 3 Additional Quarterly Issues): $2,495

OR Buy Single Report: $995

The one year subscription includes three quarterly updates on key developments in the space, including future editions of our annual reports, Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2010-2011 and Inside Virtual Goods: The Future of Social Gaming 2011.

Or, you can download just this report. The price is US $995.

About the Authors

justin-smith-headshotJustin Smith

Founder, Inside Network

Justin Smith is the founder of Inside Network, the first service dedicated to providing news and market research to the Facebook platform and social gaming ecosystem. Justin leads Inside Network’s analyst services, manages Inside Network’s AppData service, and serves as co-editor of Inside Facebook and Inside Social Games. Inside Network was acquired by WebMediaBrands (NASDAQ:WEBM) in May 2011.

Prior to Inside Network, he was Head of Product at Watercooler, now Kabam, a leading social game developer on the Facebook Platform. Prior to Watercooler, Justin was an early employee at Xfire, the largest social utility for gamers, which was sold to Viacom in 2006.

Justin holds a degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University, where he was a Mayfield Fellow and a recipient of the Terman Award in Engineering.

charles-hudson-headshotCharles Hudson

Venture Partner, SoftTech VC, CEO and Co-Founder, Bionic Panda Games

Charles Hudson is a Venture Partner with SoftTech VC and the CEO and Co-Founder of Bionic Panda Games, a mobile games company based in San Francisco, CA.

Until February 2010, he was the VP of Business Development for Serious Business, a leading producer of social games. Zynga acquired Serious Business in February of 2010. Prior to Serious Business, Hudson worked at Gaia Interactive, Google, IronPort Systems, and In-Q-Tel. Hudson also founded Third Power LLC, a conference and events company that was acquired by WebMediaBrands. Charles holds an MBA and BA from Stanford University.