Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Report Forecasts In-Game Microtransactions will Reach $6 Billion by 2015

According to a new report from international research firm Parks Associates, nearly one-fifth of active gamers in the U.S. currently spend money on virtual items in popular online games like Farmville, World of Warcraft and Free Realms. The gaming business is undergoing a major shift away from subscription models as virtual items become a larger part of its economy. Parks Associates forecasts this business will reach almost $6 billion in revenues worldwide by 2015.

“Gamers are investing real money in virtual items in Farmville, World of Warcraft, and other online games, to the point they are filing lawsuits to establish ‘ownership’ of these virtual goods,” said Pietro Macchiarella, research analyst, Parks Associates. “The enormous player base, availability on multiple devices, and the introduction of instruments such as Facebook Credits contribute to growing revenues.”

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to justify subscription fees,” Macchiarella said. “Thanks to social games and free-to-play MMOs, both casual and hardcore players have the option of playing quality games online for free. The virtual-items model that has proven so successful in Asia is finally generating significant revenues in North America.”

Macchiarella predicts that social games in particular will generate higher ARPUs as payment methods and monetization business models are perfected.

Parks Associates’ Online Gaming: Global Outlook focuses on several key growth areas in the online gaming space, including online console games, casual games, subscription and microtransaction-based massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), and Gaming 2.0, a new online gaming category which includes cloud-based gaming, user-generated content, gamer social networks, social gaming, and single-player games requiring online connectivity to play.

Parks Associates is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates creates research capital for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small start-ups through market reports, primary studies, consumer research, custom research, workshops, executive conferences, and annual service subscriptions.

From the article, "New Report Forecasts In-Game Microtransactions will Reach $6 Billion by 2015" by John Gaudiosi

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