What Are Your Thoughts On Virtual Goods?

Wed, Dec 8, 2010
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This is a pretty random article post (particularly the video!), but I’d really love to hear your thoughts on the world of virtual gifts. I was stunned to read an article on Mashable tonight about a social game called “Pet Society” that sells over 90 million virtual gifts a day, that translates to over 30 billion virtual goods transactions a year, at anything from few cents an item to a few dollars! (It’s interesting to note these guys were bought by Electronic Arts for almost 400 million last year.)

So, with that in mind, it’s interesting to look back at why Facebook closed its gift store back in August this year to focus on other aspects of the business. That meant one of a few things. Facebook either thinks virtual gifts will be a flash in the pan through the current hype (but I doubt it), the rise of virtual gift competitors like Farmville and the Pet Society (for example) have drawn the purchase interaction points away from their gift store by selling directly in-game, or Facebook just wants to own and control the entire virtual goods market by focusing resources on their “Facebook Credits” currency, which sounds pretty lucrative!

Interestingly, reports are saying that the virtual goods market was worth 5-10 billion dollars this year alone, and could grow 1000% over the next few years. Which means if I’m Facebook, and I can claim just 10-20% of that entire market this year, on a standard 70/30 developer to platform revenue ratio, I’d have made about 500 million in revenue alone.

So, moving back into reality, who has worked on/with a brand that has jumped on the virtual goods train? What did you create? How man items are bought? It would be great to hear a few stories!

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