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Virtual goods revenues on the rise, mobile closing the gap on social, says report

A new report estimates that overall revenues from virtual goods in mobile games could reach $500 million in the U.S. during 2012, a significant jump from $350 million in 2011.
In-game transactions are becoming increasingly popular in game development, and a new report from Inside Virtual Goods estimates that overall revenues from virtual goods in mobile games could reach $500 million in the U.S. during 2012, up from $350 million in 2011. This healthy increase still leaves mobile well behind social games, which are expected to see $2.9 billion in virtual goods revenue in 2012. According to Inside Virtual Goods, however, mobile revenues could close that gap within the next several years. Justin Smith, founder of Inside Network, told VentureBeat that the mobile space is "still hitting its stride," and while social games are still growing, they're doing so at a slower pace. Smith particularly pointed out that roughly 63 percent of Facebook users are aware of its proprietary currency Facebook Credits, a percentage roughly unchanged from 2011. Smith attributed this stagnation to the fact that new users are still joining Facebook, adding to the number of users that don't yet understand its currency system. He also revealed that the audiences buying virtual goods on mobile and social platforms are fairly different. The social audience a bit older and has a larger female segment than its mobile counterpart. Considering the differences between social and mobile players, Smith warned that developers should be wary of making games that work across both social and mobile platforms. "An interesting challenge is how to make an app that is relevant in both realms," he said. Inside Virtual Goods' full report, which includes more data on spending habits and ownership on mobile and social platforms, is now available for purchase.

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