Inside Virtual Goods: Tracking the US Virtual Goods Market 2011 – 2012, Is Here

With an up-to-$2 billion IPO that Zynga may file in the coming weeks to fund its continued global expansion, Facebook’s migration to Credits, Google’s launch of Google+, and the continued rapid growth of in-app purchase-based businesses on the iOS and Android mobile platforms, virtual goods are impacting businesses across the media landscape. Virtual goods, and the companies that distribute them, are continuing to bring about one of the largest disruptions entertainment, communication, and e-commerce infrastructure businesses have seen in years.

Inside Network is proud to announce a new original research report by Charles Hudson and Justin Smith that presents a comprehensive examination of the size and future of the virtual goods market in the United States, entitled Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2011 – 2012. This is Inside Network’s third annual edition of the US Virtual Good Market report. The big picture? The US virtual goods market will reach $2.9 billion overall in 2012.

Where will the virtual goods market go in 2012 and what are the biggest opportunities left unclaimed? How will existing players fare as Facebook, Apple, and Google reshape the mobile gaming landscape, and larger and more sophisticated players enter the market? Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2011 – 2012 provides deeper insight into monetization, development, and the key questions facing the space in 2012 than you’ll find anywhere else.

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About the Report

Inside Virtual Goods is a new report researched and created specifically for entrepreneurs, investors, and analysts interested in the growth of this exciting new category of online commerce that is fueling the growth of games-as-a-service businesses. During a research phase spanning the last few months, co-authors Justin Smith and Charles Hudson have spoken with dozens of executives and entrepreneurs from all parts of the ecosystem in order to form what we believe are the most detailed estimates, analyses, and predictions for 2011 and 2012.

We focused and organized the report around the following areas:

  1. Social Networks, Applications, and Games – The continued growth of the virtual goods market on social networks is one of the biggest stories of 2011. We delve deeply into the trends, stats, key players, opportunities, and challenges facing the space this year and next.
  2. Mobile Applications and Games – Mobile application developers that have been early adopters of the free-to-play model are have seen significant growth in 2011, making mobile the fastest-growing component of the US virtual goods market. Our study breaks down the key opportunities and challenges facing this emerging space going into 2012.
  3. Casual  and Hardcore MMOs – Developers in the MMO / MMORPG space have been among the earliest adopters of the free-to-play model, while Virtual worlds and casual MMOs continue to represent a share of the virtual goods opportunity in the United States. Our study breaks down the key trends in monetization and engagement, and the prospects for the future.
  4. Console Games – The console market continues to be one of the areas where microtransactions are establishing a meaningful foothold in the market. We explore why the model is succeeding, revenue and user trends, and the key issues facing this space as we head into 2012.

Each section contains:

  1. A brief history on the evolution and growth of this space in the US, including a description of key players.
  2. Estimates on the size of the US virtual goods market in 2011 in that area.
  3. A diagnosis of the key opportunities and issues facing the growth of that space, including our outlook and projections for 2012.

In addition, prior to delving more deeply into each market segment, we’ve provided an overview of the emerging payments ecosystem that is growing to serve these new businesses. Traditional e-commerce infrastructure providers only offer a partial solution, and the virtual goods payments layer is currently in a major state of flux. In the report, we describe the variety of solutions that have been brought to market to date, and the key challenges facing the industry from a payments perspective as a whole.