While virtual goods have been driving revenues in Asia and Europe for years, 2009 will be remembered as the year virtual goods-based businesses began to scale in the United States. Virtual goods may be bringing the largest disruption entertainment, communication, and e-commerce infrastructure companies have seen for a long time.
That’s why I’m excited to announce today a new in-depth research report with partner/co-author Charles Hudson that is exclusively focused on the size and future of the virtual goods market in the United States, entitled Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market, 2009 – 2010. It is being released for the first time this morning. The big picture? We estimate the total 2009 US virtual goods opportunity at just over $1 billion.
About the Report
Inside Virtual Goods is a new report designed specifically for entrepreneurs, investors, and analysts interested in the growth of this exciting new category of online commerce that is fueling the growth of games-as-a-service businesses. During our research over the last several months, Charles and I have spoken with dozens of executives and entrepreneurs from all parts of the ecosystem in order to form what we believe are the most detailed estimates, analyses, and predictions for 2009 and 2010.
We focused and organized the report around the following areas:
- Social Networks, Applications, and Games – The explosion of the virtual goods market on social networks is in our view one of the biggest stories of 2009. We delve deeply into the trends, stats, key players, opportunities, and challenges facing the space this year and next.
- Casual MMOs and Virtual Worlds – Virtual worlds and casual MMOs continue to grow as a meaningful share of the virtual goods opportunity in the United States. Our study breaks down the key drivers for success in this segment, trends in monetization and engagement, and the prospects for the future.
- Hardcore MMOs and Free-to-Play Online Games – Developers in the MMO / MMORPG space have been among the earliest adopters of the free-to-play model. We explore why free-to-play MMOs are succeeding, revenue and user trends, and the key issues facing this space as we head into 2010.
- Emerging Areas: Consoles, iPhone, and Subscription MMOs– As the virtual goods business model becomes more well understood, it is beginning to show up in new and interesting areas of the games and entertainment landscape. We highlight a few of the more promising areas where virtual goods are emerging as a promising opportunity.
Each section contains:
- A brief history on the evolution and growth of this space in the US, including a description of all key players.
- Estimates on the size of the US virtual goods market in 2009 in that area.
- A diagnosis of the key opportunities and issues facing the growth of that space, including our outlook and projections for 2010.
In addition, prior to delving more deeply into each market segment, we’ve provided an overview of the emerging payments ecosystem that is growing to serve these new businesses. Traditional e-commerce infrastructure providers only offer a partial solution, and the virtual goods payments layer is currently in a major state of flux. In the report, we describe the variety of solutions that have been brought to market to date, and the key challenges facing the industry from a payments perspective as a whole.
For more details, check out the full table of contents below.
The price of the report is US $995. In addition, we will be releasing quarterly research and updates on key developments in the space. A one-year subscription is now available for US $1,995.
Charles and I are looking forward to continuing to cover the evolution of the space over the coming year. We look forward to hearing from you!
Table of Contents
About the Authors
VP Business Development, Serious Business & Host, Virtual Goods Summit
Charles Hudson is VP of Business Development for Serious Business, a leading social games developer on the Facebook platform. In addition to his work at Serious Business, Charles Hudson organizes two of the leading conferences in the social gaming and free-to-play games industries, the Social Gaming Summit and Virtual Goods Summit.
Prior to Serious Business, he was formerly the Sr. Director for Business Development at Gaia Interactive, a leading online hangout for teens. Prior to Gaia, Charles worked in New Business Development at Google and focused on new partnership opportunities for early-stage products in the advertising, mobile, and e-commerce markets. Prior to joining Google, he was a Product Manager for IronPort Systems, a leading provider of anti-spam hardware appliances that was acquired by Cisco Systems for $830 million in 2007. Charles holds an MBA and BA from Stanford University.
Founder, Inside Network
Justin Smith is the founder of Inside Network, the first and only service dedicated to providing business information and market research to the Facebook platform and social gaming ecosystem. Justin serves as co-editor of Inside Facebook and Inside Social Games, and manages Inside Network’s AppData and PageData services as well.
Prior to Inside Network, he was formerly Head of Product at Watercooler, one of the leading application developers on the Facebook Platform. Prior to Watercooler, Justin was an early employee at Xfire, the largest social utility for gamers, which was sold to Viacom in 2006. Justin holds a degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University.
The price of the report is US $995. In addition, we will be releasing quarterly research and updates on key developments in the space. A one-year subscription is available for US $1,995.
List of Related Companies: Acclaim, Activision, AdParlor, Aeria Games, Amazon, Artix Entertainment, Bebo (AOL), Boku, Boomerang Networks, Challenge Games, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Fatfoogoo, Firecue, Frogster, Gaia Online, Gala-Net, Gambit, Google, GratisPay, Green Patch, gWallet, Hi5, IMVU, iovation, Jagex, Kontagent, Meez, Metaplace, Microsoft, MySpace, Nexon, Nintendo, Offerpal Media, Outspark, PaymentPin, PayPal, PeanutLabs, Playdom, Playfish, PlaySpan, Rekoo, Riot Games, RockYou!, Second Life, Serious Business, SGN, Six Degrees Games, Slashkey, Slide, SocialGold, Sometrics, Sony, Sony (Free Realms), SponsorPay, Sulake (Habbo Hotel), Super Rewards, SupersonicAds, SurfPin, TheBroth, ThreatMetrix, Three Rings (Puzzle Pirates), TokenAds, TrialPay, Turbine, Twofish, Viacom (MTV), Viacom (Neopets), Viximo, WeeWorld, Zong, Zynga