PlaySpan Survey Shows Some Interesting Virtual Goods Stats

Sating the curiosity of developers, the market research firm tailored specifically to video games, VGMarket, and online monetization company PlaySpan conducted a survey to garner a better estimation on just how many players are spending real money on virtual goods. Conducted between July 15th and 31st of this year, the survey of 2,425 pulled from a variety of customers ranging from those that made online purchases through the PlaySpan Marketplace, made use of the retail-based Ultimate Game Card, or utilized the more recent virtual currencies acquisition, Spare Change.

Digital_Goods_By_GenreCovering this wide expanse of purchasing options, the PlaySpan/VGMarket survey discovered that 58% of surveyed gamers bought virtual goods with one of the aforementioned methods, in the last year, for a free-to-play game. Coming in second, over the same course of time, was massively multiplayer online games at 34%, followed by a mere (by comparison) 23% were social network games.

In addition to having the highest number of purchasers, free-to-play games also saw the highest expenditure. The median average spent among users was approximately $75 with MMOs and social network games coming in at around $60 and $50 respectively. Of those reported, 80% of those surveyed admitted to buying virtual goods for themselves with the remaining 20% buying them for others as gifts. On average, they also proclaimed that they were currently playing three online games.

What form of virtual goods is being purchased most. Well, according to the survey, in-game currency is on top with 71% of players having purchased it in some form or another. Seeing as how virtual currency can be used to make purchases across multiple games on a network, it seems logical that it would be first. However, the difference between #1 and #2 is staggering.

Virtual_Goods_BuyersAccording to the report, weapons were the second most purchased item at 37%, followed by subscription codes at 30%, wearable items at 26%, power-ups at 25%, virtual gifts at 19%, and maps and levels at a scant 16%. In fact, not only did a higher percentage of users buy virtual currency, but the median number of transactions for them were higher as well (7) when compared to all other types of virtual goods (5).

Currently, this is all the information that has been released from PlaySpan and VGMarket, but according to what they have told ISG, additional components of the study that include individual virtual goods seller data may be released in the future.