The critics of the virtual goods industry often neglect to take into account how virtual goods are monetized. They’re right to assume that most social gamers are not willing to use cash to purchase virtual currency. Only a very, very small group of dedicated social gamers buy currency or goods directly. The larger majority fuel virtual economies through real-world purchases.
Electronic Art’s Playfish, creators of Pet Society, is a pioneer in “online-offline” monetization. For example, in the weeks leading up to the Valentine’s Day holiday Playfish partnered with TrialPay to place offers from ProFlowers inside their game. Social gamers who sent their loved ones real flowers would be awarded virtual currency at no additional cost. The results were remarkable.
Sebastien de Halleux, VP of Business Development and Strategic Partnership for EA Interactive, was interviewed by Forbes and said that this promotion alone accounted for 50% of the revenue from Pet Society during this time – a 20% increase over the previous year!
The virtual currency accrued from these real flower purchases were largely responsible for the 60 million virtual items sold during the same time period. “Social games will become less about fantasy and more about tapping into real-life trends,” predicts de Halleux.
Congratulations to Playfish on their successful implementation and execution of this new monetization strategy!
Thousands of software and social gaming companies experienced similar results using TrialPay campaigns during Valentine’s Day. Additionally, flower providers acquired tens of thousands of customers. As the social gaming industry grows, we at TrialPay are excited to leverage real-world purchases to fuel virtual economies – and vice versa!