Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Virtual goods for billions

According to BusinessWeek digital belongings on games and social networks is a fast growing market, also for people outside the common "shoot-out game teenager" category. Virtual worlds like Farmville, Pet Society, Resturant City and their counterparts are selling digital goods like aquarium fish or plum trees for 25c or a dollar, now expect to double in 2010, to $1.6 billion only in the U.S. Analyst Atul Bagga of the research firm ThinkEquity says women 35 and older, are the "sweet spot.

Startups like Zynga, owner of Farmville, are focused on harvesting this growing market and has 240 million users per month "while social network games created by CrowdStar and Electronic Arts' Playfish each have more than 50 million."

Only 1-4 % of the users of the games are shopping for virtual goods and this calls for solutions on how to handle micro payments and payment methods for youngsters not having a credit card. Kwedit is one of them selling software that enables players to get currency to go shopping virtual good, if they promise to pay later. They print out a check and goes to pay for it in a nearby 7-Eleven. If there is no pay, the credit is withdrawn.

Online retailers have also begun to use digital coins for use in online worlds as a promotion item.o