PlaySpan and VGMarket Publish Complete Report on Digital Goods Trends for 2009

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VGMarket, a market research firm specializing in the video game industry, and PlaySpan, the global leader in monetization solutions for online games, virtual worlds, and social networks, today announce the full availability of their 2009 digital goods report that reveals consumer behavior patterns among existing customers of third-party online game marketplaces. Downloadable study makes strong case for free-to-play market and growing interest by casual gamers to buy and sell digital goods.

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“Through this report, we wanted to share the most accurate and actionable data on the digital goods industry, to enable our clients, partners, and others to make good decisions on executing their business strategies. As digital goods leaders, we plan to c

VGMarket, a market research firm specializing in the video game industry, and PlaySpan, the global leader in monetization solutions for online games, virtual worlds, and social networks, today announced the full availability of their 2009 digital goods report that reveals consumer behavior patterns among existing customers of third-party online game marketplaces. The first of its kind survey was comprised of responses from a sampling of 2,425 customers across the PlaySpan Marketplace, Spare Change, and Ultimate Game Card. Although portions of the report were released earlier this year, the full report is now available to the industry for free at http://bit.ly/playspanreport.

The PlaySpan/VGMarket landmark study quantifies digital goods purchasing behavior at the genre and item levels and also also provides statistics on 1st party purchasing directly from the publisher, 3rd party purchasing through online marketplaces, and those who sell digital goods directly to other players.

“Free to Play” Leads the Way

Analyzing 1st party sales by genre, more than half of respondents bought digital goods in a Free to Play game (58%) over the last 12 months, which represents approximately the same number of total people who purchased digital goods in the MMO (34%) and Social Network (23%) genres combined. PC Online (12%), Console Online (9%), and Casual Games (9%) account for the lowest level of participation.

More money is spent on digital goods in Free to Play games than in any other genre. Over the last twelve months, the median Free to Play digital goods expenditure was $75 per person, followed by $60 in MMOs and $50 in Social Network games. Other genres are also compared in the report including PC online, console online, and casual games.

Similar to 1st party purchasing behavior, Free to Play and MMO genres are also the leaders in 3rd party marketplaces, with each genre generating $40 per person in annual revenue. This represents approximately 50% more sales volume than Social Network games ($28) and 100% more sales volume than PC Online games ($20).

The largest number of sellers can be found in the Social Network genre, but the most money is being earned in the Free to Play genre. One out of two sellers made a sale in a Social Network game over the last 12 months and earned $50 (median), while one out of four sellers made a sale in a Free to Play game over the last 12 months and earned $98 (median).

Other interesting demographic information from the study revealed that 89% of the sellers were male with median age of 21 and having an annual household income of $30,000. All in all, 31% or 742 of the total number of respondents said they have sold a digital good or item, with 39% of the remaining 69%, confirming that they are either interested or very interested in doing so.

“This report reveals not only the type of item and genre that are worth consideration, but the demographic make up of sellers and annual dollar amount they are able to generate as well. I think publishers will find out exactly what they need to know as to what makes most sense in terms of choosing the right business model and in-game economy,” said Michael Gluck, President, VGMarket.

“Through this report, we wanted to share the most accurate and actionable data on the digital goods industry, to enable our clients, partners, and others to make good decisions on executing their business strategies. As digital goods leaders, we plan to continue conducting research and sharing the information to help accelerate industry knowledge and growth,” said Eric Hartness, Chief Marketing Officer of PlaySpan.

The survey was distributed by email to a sample of 2,425 registered users of PlaySpan, Ultimate Game Card, and Spare Change who had made at least one digital goods purchase or sale over the one year period of July of 2008 through July of 2009. Responses were collected over the two-week period of July 15th, 2009 through July 31st, 2009.

For more information about this study, please contact Eric Hartness at eric (dot) hartness (at) playspan (dot) com or Michael Gluck at Michael (at) VGMarket (dot) com.

To download a copy of the report, please visit: http://bit.ly/playspanreport.

About VGMarket
VGMarket is a market research firm specializing in the video game industry, with experience providing online survey research, concept testing, and play testing for top tier franchises such as The Sims, Battlefield, Need for Speed, Lord of the Rings, Littlest Pet Shop, Rolando, Dead Space, and Mafia Wars. Clients include EA, Capcom, 2K, Ubisoft, Smith & Tinker, PlaySpan, ngmoco, and Zynga. Known for low prices, fast turn-around, and high quality methodology, VGMarket is widely regarded as the best value in video game market research.

About PlaySpan, Inc.                                                                                    
PlaySpan™ is the global leader in monetization solutions for over 1,000 online games, virtual worlds, and social networks. PlaySpan's patent-pending in-game digital goods commerce and micropayment platform enables game publishers and developers to generate new revenues, acquire new users, and extend the loyalty of existing users.

PlaySpan also offers global payment solutions through its subsidiary PayByCash® with 85+ payment methods in 180 countries. The ULTIMATE GAME CARD® is used by consumers to pay for 1,000 online and social networking games. It is available in about 45,000 retail locations across North America and growing rapidly worldwide.

Social network payment solutions are available through Spare Change©. Acquired by PlaySpan in April 2009, Spare Change is the first and leading payments platform designed specifically for social networks. Featured on over 700 applications, across Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo, Spare Change empowers developers to successfully monetize their applications through micro payments. The Spare Change platform enables users to make safe, convenient, and friendly 1-click purchases through a variety of funding sources.

PlaySpan is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in Charlottesville, Virginia, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Mumbai. Investors include Easton Capital, Menlo Ventures, STIC and Novel TMT Ventures. The company won the 2009 OnHollywood Category Award for Best Gaming Company.

For more information about PlaySpan, visit: http://corp.playspan.com
For more information about Spare Change, visit: http://www.sparechangepayments.com

VSC PR for PlaySpan
Eric Gonzalez, 415-272-0836

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Eric Gonzalez
VSC PR (on behalf of PlaySpan)
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