Virtual worlds are big: market research

US-based market research firm In-Stat have released a research paper entitled ‘Virtual Worlds and Web 3.0: Examined, Compared, Analyzed‘.

To see the 58-page report in full you’ll need to pay US $2,995 (that’s only $51.64 per page folks!), but the overview is:

  • virtual world businesses earn nearly 90% of their money from sale of virtual items
  • The number of registered virtual world users will have exceeded 1 billion by 2012, with a total revenue of US $3 billion.
  • Ten criteria were used to rate virtual worlds, with the social networking aspect coming out as the strongest hook. On the face of it, none of the findings seem earth-shattering for virtual worlds observers. For more traditional businesses, the revenue projections would certainly draw some interest. Market research on virtual worlds in becoming more and more frequent as business sees the potential opportunities – market research businesses in particular.

    The projections put forward by In-Stat don’t seem that unrealistic given the current revenue and registration numbers – what do you think?

    Comments

    1. Vili Lehdonvirta says:

      The figures are in line with what I have seen elsewhere, but the problem with these forecasts in my opinion is that the concepts tend to be incredibly ambiguous. What's a virtual world? Do MMO games count? Do avatar-based 'social gaming' apps on Facebook count (an industry that is experiencing a lot of growth atm)? If the goalposts are this flexible, the predictions will always be true. 1 Bn users is almost 75% of all Internet users today.

      That said, perhaps the revenue estimate is a bit on the low side. Online gaming is already a 1-2 Bn USD market, and real-money trading of virtual items is around 2 Bn USD as well:
      http://virtual-economy.org/blog/how_big_is_the_

      More about revenues:
      http://virtual-economy.org/blog/revenue_data_an

      p.s. nice site, stumbled here for the first time!

    2. Vili Lehdonvirta says:

      The figures are in line with what I have seen elsewhere, but the problem with these forecasts in my opinion is that the concepts tend to be incredibly ambiguous. What's a virtual world? Do MMO games count? Do avatar-based 'social gaming' apps on Facebook count (an industry that is experiencing a lot of growth atm)? If the goalposts are this flexible, the predictions will always be true. 1 Bn users is almost 75% of all Internet users today.

      That said, perhaps the revenue estimate is a bit on the low side. Online gaming is already a 1-2 Bn USD market, and real-money trading of virtual items is around 2 Bn USD as well:
      http://virtual-economy.org/blog/how_big_is_the_

      More about revenues:
      http://virtual-economy.org/blog/revenue_data_an

      p.s. nice site, stumbled here for the first time!

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