Great coverage of the Virtual Goods Summit by 3pointD.
Virtual Goods and Entertainment
Charles: What motivates people to stay engaged, and how do virtual goods play into that?
Ryan: For us it’s about self-expression. When our users spend 4-6 hours online, self-experssion as they show themselves in their IM, in their blogs, in the game, is incredbly impoertant to them. Our most loyal users are female. Unlike in Second Life, where they routinely blow up the American Apparel store, it has to be a conscious choice to engage with the brand. We find our users actually associate with brands. “
Susan: How do you guys estimate the size of the overall virtual goods market?
Dan: It’s easily a billion dollar [secondary] market. Consumers have told us these things have value, the industry now is trying to reconcile that with their business model.
Susan: These are big numbers. Why aren’t more content developers and producers looking at this as a viable business model?
Kevin: If I had a startup doing that kind of revenue on virtual goods, I’d be ecstatic. It’s incredibly high-margin, you have no cost of sales and no sales force associated with it.”
Reeves: The human brian is not specialized to differentiate between virtual and real. Same neurons fire when an avatar smiles at you as when a real person smiles at you. Seriosity is looking at what happens when you create an opportunity to do serious things with virtual currency attached, such as sending email messages with virtual currency attached. The result? You open the email faster when currency is attached. Virtual money changes real behavior.”
“Min Kim of Nexon gave a presentation at the Virtual Goods Summit and said the company would probably announce the release of its KartRider in the US soon, which has been in closed beta. Kim also said Maple Story has been “kicking ass” in the US, with 3.5 million registered users. The company is also introducing prepaid cards at Target that can be used to buy virtual items, which it expects will push up sales as well. It also just released Audition, which already has 100,000 registered users, more than half of them female.”
“Kyra Reppen of Neopets gave a presentation at the Virtual Goods Summit on MTV’s Neopets. Like other MTV presenters before her, she began her presentation with a video. Perhaps the most interesting part, though, was about the new NC Mall that Neopets will introduce in beta next week.
It’s about customizing and self-expression. It’s complementary to the Neopoints economy, no exchange between the two. Themed items around Neopian events. Launching with PayPal. Why do we think this is going to work? Digital is real life for this audience. Technology is invisible. Emotional connection makes the pixels go away and it’s about these experiences.
Virtual worlds and virtual economies are simply applications to achieve those four core goals: fun, self-expression, social needs, and control. Kids ages 6-14 have $60 billion in income.”
“David Wallerstein of Tencent began the Virtual Goods Success Stories panel at the Virtual Goods Summit with a presentation, mostly to demonstrate what Tencent is doing in China: Chinese Internet penetration is only 10.5 percent. Wireless is 35.2 percent. Roughly 40 percent of Internet usage in China takes place in Internet cafes. Tencent currently has more than 4,000 employees, with roughly 30 percent R&D staff. Tencent has five leading online platforms:
- QQ.com is the #1 portal in China
- QQ games portal is the #1 mini casual games portal in China
- QQ IM, #1 IM service provider in China
- They also have a leading wireless portal
- Qzone, the #1 blog site / MySpace in China”