Consumers Shift to Real World Cash for Virtual Purchases

August 4, 2011 -

According to a new study conducted by VGMarket and commissioned by Playspan, U.S. gamers have shifted from using credits earned from advertising offers to "real world" payments for digital goods using debit, credit and prepaid cards. The data comes from a survey compiled in July 2011 from over 1000 gamers drawn from a VGMarket database.

According to the study, nearly one-third (31 percent) of the gaming population has used real world money to purchase virtual content. Of those who use real world money, 57 percent said they make purchases of virtual items using real world money at least once every month. Console games account for the majority (51 percent) of virtual purchases using real world money, with social networking games (30 percent) and Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs) coming in at second and third, respectively.

The survey found that 72 percent of respondents indicated that they expect to spend the same or more money on games in 2011 as they did in 2010. Around 67 percent of those who intended to spend more said they were playing more online games than last year, with 42 percent saying they have more money to spend. About 32 percent claimed ease of purchase as the main reason, while greater in-game rewards (30 percent) was the fourth most popular reason.

Around 48 percent of the gaming population said they have purchased in-game currency over the last 12 months, with maps and levels coming in second with 47 percent, and armor and equipment third at 29 percent.

Females were almost three times more likely than males to use Facebook credits to purchase virtual items or content and outspend males in virtual goods purchases in MMOs with an average spend of $111 vs. $74 (when purchasing directly from the game maker) and $86 vs. $77 (when purchasing from a third party source). With casual games, the differences were even greater, with women spending 40 percent more than men from 1st party publishers and more than three times as much from third-party publishers.

Based on Geographical location, consumers on the west coast ($36) spend approximately 60 percent more on weapons than the average east coast gamer ($22), with nearly identical results for armor and equipment ($36 vs. $21).

Cross-tabulations of the survey revealed significant purchasing differences between self-defined sports enthusiasts and readers. Sports types spent an average of $106 from first party and $132 on third party sites compared to readers, who averaged $65 and $49 respectively. Readers had a much higher spend on PC Games with Online Play, averaging $79 a year from first party sites and $69 from third party sites, whereas those who play sports average $60 and $46 in the genre.

Finally, the survey found that men prefer email, while women prefer Facebook. Men and women show pronounced differences in the type of communication they prefer for the promotion of a virtual currency item. Men (49 percent) are much more receptive than women (38 percent) to email communications, while women (31 percent) much prefer promotions on Facebook to men (18 percent).

To obtain the full survey, check out Playspan.com.


 
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Papa MidnightIn case anyone is interested, there is a clause written into Section 10 of Windows 10's EULA that provides for a Class Action Waiver, and restricts the user to Binding Arbitration.07/29/2015 - 11:15am
TechnogeekNo, that folder is what gets used for the upgrade process. I already had the upgrade go through on my notebook.07/29/2015 - 10:35am
Andrew EisenMatt - And AGAIN, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published? How is it not accountable to its readership (which, AGAIN, is primarily game industry folk, not gamers)?07/29/2015 - 10:10am
james_fudgeThat's the clean install, for anyone asking07/29/2015 - 9:23am
TechnogeekAlso, it's the upgrade that's available for installation now. You might need to forcibly initiate the Windows Update process before it'll start downloading, though. (If there's a C:\$Windows.~BT folder on your computer, then you're in luck.)07/29/2015 - 8:46am
TechnogeekAdmittedly there's more room to push for an advertiser boycott when you get into opinion content versus pure news, but keep in mind that reviews are opinion content as well.07/29/2015 - 8:46am
TechnogeekMatts: There's a difference between "this person regularly says extremely terrible stuff" and "I don't like the phrasing used in this one specific editorial".07/29/2015 - 8:45am
MattsworknameWait, is that for the upgrade or the clean install only? cause I was gonna do the upgrade07/29/2015 - 8:32am
james_fudgehttps://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows1007/29/2015 - 8:30am
PHX Corp@Wilson, I'm still waiting for My upgrade notice aswell07/29/2015 - 7:57am
MattsworknameWilson: how? Im still waiting for my upgrade notice07/29/2015 - 3:44am
Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
 

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