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Virtual goods – money for nothing

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Thursday October 29, 2009 )

The virtual goods industry is set to become a $1 billion business this year in the USA, and is expected to grow 60% in 2010.

The information comes from Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market, 2009 – 2010, a new research report that focused on the size and future of the virtual goods market in the United States.

The USA isn’t breaking new ground here. It seems virtual goods are already extraordinarily popular in China, generating close to $4 billion annually!

What are virtual goods?

Virtual goods differ from digital goods.

According to Wikipedia: “Virtual goods are non-physical objects that are purchased and exchanged on the internet. A virtual product has no intrinsic value in the physical or real world and is by definition intangible.”

Examples of virtual goods are tools and toys purchased to play online games; for example, a special weapon or potions that help players traverse levels. They can be something as simple as a virtual drink given as a gift to a social network “friend”.

It’s quite astounding what folks will spend their hard-earned, cold hard cash on. Imagine telling someone 50 years ago that this would come to pass. They would have called you nuts :).

It’s certainly been a great way for online gaming companies to generate a few bucks.

According to an article on Marketing Vox, Facebook’s virtual ecommerce business is estimated to be a 10% slice of the social network’s estimated revenue of $500 million this year.

With iPhones becoming increasingly popular, I’m assuming the virtual goods sector will have some great opportunities there too.

So, if you’re looking for a new income generation opportunity, virtual goods may be worth exploring.

Now, would anyone like to buy a virtual kiss from me? – 5 bucks a pop – bargain.


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