Report: 88% Of Web Users Purchase Digital Content

A recent report leveraging global research has shown that 88 percent of consumers had purchased some type of digital content (including music, movies and games), while 60 percent of those responding indicated they had purchased an in-game good that was not a full game. The report, titled “Consumer Trends in Virtual Goods and Downloadable Gaming in North America and Europe,”used two sources: research from a survey of 5,000 gamers in North America in Europe, and seven years of historical Live Gamer micro-transaction data from multiple countries including South Korea, U.S., Japan, Germany, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The report was completed by research firm DFC Intelligence and Live Gamer. The companies goal was to understand how the burgeoning virtual goods market would trend in the future, with an emphasis on the fact that Asia has had virtual goods markets for years and the business is now taking off in North America.

“In most cases, the digital items are offered in free-to-play (F2P) products, which are low risk for the consumer,” said DFC analyst David Cole. “By offering free play, these games can attract millions of users, many of which are now choosing to pay for virtual items to enhance the experience. In looking at the historical track record it is clear that a major advantage of a virtual item model is a single product can have a lifespan of years online as opposed to a few months on the retail shelf.”

The press release states that many of the products that use a virtual item model fall into a category DFC Intelligence calls MMOG Lite. MMOG Lite products often allow for persistent worlds and character building, but without the high monthly fees associated with large commercial massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs). In North America and Europe, DFC forecasts that the MMOG Lite market will grow from about $800 million in 2009 to over $3 billion by 2015.

“Korea still has the highest current revenue and longest history of all the markets we studied. However, when looking at seven years of actual historical transactional data, it is clear markets like Germany, Japan and the U.S. are not only trending towards Korea, but doing so at a significantly higher spend per transaction,” said Cole.