Report: 30 Percent of Gamers Can't Afford Virtual Currency

Today, Offerpal released the results of a survey that targeted social gamers’ monetization activities. Specifically, the report found that 29.7% of social gamers do not have the ability or means to pay for virtual currencies with cash, and 53.3% of consumers are willing to engage in alternative payments, like offers, to earn virtual currency. The report also found some other interesting statistics related to monetization behavior.

Seeing as this is an Offerpal study, the results aim to demonstrate that alternative payment methods will attract many social gamers who don’t have means to pay for their virtual currency with cash. However, this is in line with other numbers we’ve heard from the social gaming industry, such as Zynga’s claim that 33% of their overall revenue comes from social games. The survey identified “alternative payments” as filling out a survey, watching a video, shopping at online retailers or signing up for a subscription. The standard payment options are credit cards, Paypal, bank transfers and mobile billing.

Another interesting result was that 34.9% of gamers say they are “very unlikely” to part with their money in order to purchase points. Statistics like these corroborate with the observed trends about the social games industry, that a small percentage of the overall users are the ones who engage in monetization. Known as the 80/20 rule, social game developers and monetization providers are constantly trying to monetize a greater percentage of their free-playing audience, and that’s why offers have been successful. Without having to give up any real cash, gamers that want the virtual currency now have an option that only costs them time, and perhaps their email address.

Here are some other interesting findings from the report:

  • Offerpal reports that since September, 2009 – when it launched Offerpal SURVEYS, the first of these incremental alternative payment options – the company has seen a 20% increase in the percent of users it is able to monetize
  • Gamers in the 25-34 age range are most likely (70.9 % “very likely”) to be willing to earn virtual currency through marketing actions
  • Most of the gamers (54.5%) report playing games online at least once a day; 26.7% reported playing several times a week; 11.5% play about once a week; and 7.3% play two to three times a month
  • When asked what kinds of games they play on a regular basis, 58.4% of the respondents said they regularly play virtual world/simulation games, followed by arcade games (40.3%), role playing games (33.5%), action games (29.7%), board games (26.9%), card games (25.6%) and word games (23.4%)
  • Of those who say they are “very likely” to buy points with a cash payment method, a majority of the users are men (53.4%) and a plurality in the 25-34 age range (42.8%)
  • 85.4% of the users who say they are “very likely” to buy points with cash are also “very likely” to earn points through marketing actions

The study was conducted between February 12th and February 15th, 2010, and includes detailed responses from 799 comScore panelists. Respondents were filtered to only include users who play games on the leading social network at least once a month.