A new study is being released by Visa-owned PlaySpan with research firm VGMarket on how and what gamers are spending on virtual goods. According to the study, nearly one-third of the general gamer population has used real world money (as opposed to virtual currency) to purchase virtual goods. Console games with online play account for the majority (51%) of virtual purchases using real world money, with social networking games (30%) coming in at second.
The report shows that 48% of the general gamer population have purchased in-game currency over the last 12 months and in terms of frequency, 57% of the general gamer population said they make purchases of virtual items using real world money at least once every month, with 72% of the general population citing that they would spend more or about the same as they did last year.
Overall, women (34%) are almost three times more likely than men (13%) to use Facebook credits to purchase virtual items or content and they dominate men in virtual goods purchases in massively multiplayer online games and casual games over the last 12 months.
In terms of casual games, the differences are even greater, with women spending 40% more than men from 1st party publishers and more than three times as much from third-party publishers. Women (37%) are also nearly twice as likely as men (19%) to buy virtual item to decorate a page, persona or avatar, the study shows.
en and women also seem very different in the type of communication they prefer for the promotion of a virtual currency item.Men (49%) are much more receptive than women (38%) to email communications, while women (31%) much prefer promotions on Facebook to men (18%).
While this report shows that women dominate men in terms of spending on virtual goods, other reports have shown that men outspend women on virtual goods by large margins. Perhaps women are spending more time now on social and casual games?