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Study: One Third Of Gamers Buy Virtual Goods

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
DLC, Free to play, Microtransactions

Study: One Third Of Gamers Buy Virtual Goods

Gender Divide Plays Key Role

DLC, microtransactions and freemium titles all do their best to claw at our wallets on a daily basis - and though we tend to rag on them, a new study suggests that they may be doing a better job than we'd like to admit. The survey, undertaken by VGMarket, suggests that up to a third of gamers regularly spend real money as part of their gaming experience. However, it seems that the console market are far more willing to splurge than their PC/App counterparts... and that Free-To-Play MMOs are surprisingly lagging behind. Full details below.

According to the study of over 1000 US gamers, nearly one third (31%) of the general gamer population has used real world money to purchase virtual content. Of those gamers who use real world money, 57% said they make purchases of virtual items at least once every month. Interestingly, console games with online play account for the majority (51%) of virtual purchases using real world money - which is due to the obscene amount of DLC and map packs that most AAA titles tend to offer within weeks of release. Social networking games and MMOs come in at second and third respectively. Considering the glut of free-to-play MMOs recently, it's interesting to see them languishing at the bottom of the list.

Charting the gender divide was a key part of the study - and it seems that female gamers are twice as willing to spend money on cosmetic enhancements to "decorate a page, persona or avatar." They're also three times more likely to buy Facebook credits and outspend males on MMOs.

Here are the details:

Approximate real-world money that gamers spent on virtual currency, items, or content in each type of game (from first party publishers) in the last 12 months:

Game Type Males (Avg. per year) Females (Avg. per year)
MMOs $77 $86
Free-to-play games $62 $56
PC Games with Online Play $62 $80
Console Games with Online Play $60 $60
Social Networking Games $46 $54
Casual Games $36 $51

Approximate real-world money that gamers spent on virtual currency, items, or content in each type of game (from third-party websites) in the last 12 months:

Game Type Males (Avg. per year) Females (Avg. per year)
MMOs $74 $111
Free-to-play games $53 $24
PC Games with Online Play $47 $82
Console Games with Online Play $48 $52
Social Networking Games $39 $38
Casual Games $28 $62

You can read the full report here - and we'd love to get your take on it.

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