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  • Real money in virtual goods

    Real money in virtual goods

    I was exposed to an interesting insight during my recent visit to Hong Kong, when a speaker shared this anecdote with us.

    A young boy, in Japan, is relieved to discover that the baseball cap he just sighted in the mall is something that he would be able to buy (at say USD 2.50), as the virtual cap of that same design/ brand is too expensive for him (say USD 9.00).  I cannot remember the exact amounts, but the story is real.

    The story indicates significant shift in how some of the Gen Y, and most of the Gen Z live their lives – more time is spent with friends online, than offline;  increasingly exhibitionist – possessions, relationships, actions need to be flaunted; online games have taken over physical games.

    Would it be any surprise that virtual goods, branded virtual items and Avatars etc. potentially sell/ can sell at a premium over real items. These items are being bought through virtual currency or credits, which in turn can be earned by consuming content online, engaging with brands or by spending real money to buy virtual money, used then to buy virtual items.

    Companies like Zynga, creators of successful games like Farmville and Mafiawars are being touted to be the next Google, and are making serious money, significant parts through sale of virtual items.

    In evolved markets like Japan, social gaming and virtual goods are revenue drivers for sites like  Mixi, Gree, Mobage-town on the mobile. It would be interesting to see how much of this will materialise for markets like India and in what formats.

    Do share your thoughts.

    Disclaimer: Views of authors are personal and do not represent the views of Blogworks, or any of its clients.

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