It seems that virtual economies are getting a lot of research attention as of late and we recently received details about a new study dealing with virtual goods and spending from PlaySpan and Magid Associates. The latest study shows a continued growth in American spending in the virtual market with a 14% increase since last year's study.
PlaySpan isn't the only one examining the virtual market. In a recent article, Nima Pourshasb, the VP of Corporate Development at Live Gamer, compares virtual apples to virtual oranges and breaks down the various business models and how some study data can be misleading.
The ability to identify user segments with the highest monetization potential is very valuable to the P&L manager of any new social game. If survey data suggests that, say, German gamers have the highest ARPPUs, one might be tempted to focus resources on acquiring German users and converting them to paying ones. One may even use these data points as guiding benchmarks for monetization initiatives. These geographic comparison studies are becoming more commonplace but can be very misleading.