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Free-to-play PC/online games represent half of all digital goods transactions -- and take the largest share of digital revenue across all game genres, says a new study. Details, dollar amounts within...

Leigh Alexander, Contributor

September 14, 2009

1 Min Read

Free-to-play PC/online games represent half of all digital goods transactions -- and take the largest share of digital revenue across all game genres, says a new study. The results come from research firm VGMarket, which in conjunction with virtual transactions platform PlaySpan, surveyed 2,425 users from the PlaySpan Marketplace, Spare Change, and Ultimate Game Card to assess their digital goods purchases. According to the study, 58 percent of gamers made purchases in free-to-play games over the last year, while 34 percent made purchases in MMOs over the same period of time. Nearly a quarter, or 23 percent, purchased digital goods in social networking games during that time. Free-to-play games aren't just drawing the largest amount of paying users, they're also pulling in the biggest average expense per user at $75, says the study. The average MMO user spent $60 over the year, and the average social network gamer spent $50. Despite significant attention to the concept of digital gifting in the past few years, 80 percent of users spend on themselves, while only 20 percent buy digital goods as gifts. Most users -- 71 percent -- are spending their money on in-game currency, finds the study, while weapons and subscription codes are in a distant second and third place with 37 and 30 percent, respectively. "Each type of digital good has a unique level of demand, and the amount of money that a consumer spends on digital goods varies significantly by the genre of the game," says VGMarket president Michael Gluck.

About the Author(s)

Leigh Alexander

Contributor

Leigh Alexander is Editor At Large for Gamasutra and the site's former News Director. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety, Slate, Paste, Kill Screen, GamePro and numerous other publications. She also blogs regularly about gaming and internet culture at her Sexy Videogameland site. [NOTE: Edited 10/02/2014, this feature-linked bio was outdated.]

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