Women higher spenders than men on virtual currency
UPDATED: VGMarket survey claims social network spending eclipsing other genres
Female gamers spend $15 more per year on first-party purchases in social games than men, and twice as much on in-game money, according to a new survey by VGMarket.
North American women 25 and older are spending "disproportionately" higher amounts of cash on virtual items and currency, it claims. The median overall expenditure was $80 for females and $60 for males, although 78 per cent of 2221 respondents were men.
The survey also claims that 75 per cent of respondents have purchased digital goods within the last 12 months - although VGMarket only polled users of microtransaction sites PlaySpan, its subsidiary Ultimate Game Card and Facebook currency service Spare Change. Additionally, the survey was commissioned by PlaySpan.
Update - the 75 per cent statistic has now been removed from the survey, on the grounds that it only represents PlaySpan customers.
While the survey's methodology thus may not be entirely representative of online gamers' overall take-up of microtransactions, figures from within PlaySpan's ecosystem remain illuminating.
The average respondent spent 23.7 hours a week playing games, and during a year will play an average of 8.4 social network games and 17 iPhone/iPod Touch games.
Respondents buying virtual goods from the three sites spent more money per year on items for social games than for any other genre - $50 compared to $40 for MMOs, $40 for free-to-play games and $20 for console games with online play. Again, however, this figure may be influenced by the range of items and game support offered by PlaySpan and SpareChange.
Said Michael Gluck, VGMarket president, "The report demonstrates a number of significant trends and monetisation opportunities available to both first-party publishers and third-party marketplaces through the sale of digital goods.
"Each type of digital good has a unique level of demand, and the amount of money that a consumer spends on digital goods continues to vary widely by genre."
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