+8* – Plus Eight Star, a consultancy firm, has posted a well-reasoned guestimate of the size of the virtual goods market in China, Korea and Japan: 5 billion USD! Contrast this with our guestimate in 2007 that the global virtual goods market was worth 2.1 billion USD. Some other estimates and revenue figures can be found here.
Two completely peripheral issues I feel like commenting on in +8*’s excellent post:
1) +8* insists on using the term “digital goods” instead of “virtual goods”. In my opinion this is a bad idea, because the term digital goods is already reserved for another purpose: to describe any goods that are stored in an electronic format, such as music or movies. See e.g. Webopedia’s definition of digital goods (c.f. my discussion of “information goods” (aka digital goods) vs. virtual goods in this paper).
2) +8* has noticed how difficult it is to define virtual worlds, and also that virtual goods exist in services other than virtual worlds. I think the next logical step is to stop trying to frame the discussion in terms of virtual worlds, and to instead focus on virtual goods as the central concept, as e.g. VERN and Virtual Goods News are doing.
Via Virtual Goods News.