Tech Digest has a writeup from a panel discussion at Virtual Worlds Forum Europe. In it, Jessica Mulligan, Executive Director of Player Relations at Cyber Sports, provides several interesting-but-unattributed stats and a couple quotes that support what F2P.biz is about.
- Just 10% crossover between online games and social spaces (e.g. World of Warcraft vs Second Life)
- 60 million active players of virtual world games (people who are paying money on a monthly basis).
- Virtual worlds generated $4.5 billion in revenues last year. WoW, Westward Journey and Runescape are in this group.
- Social spaces (Habbo, Webkinz, Club Penguin, etc) generated $400M last year.
- Asia accounts for 50% of all virtual world revenues.
We're going to see more games under that business model [f2p, vis] than under the premium model.
In social spaces, web-based worlds are growing, while those that rely on you downloading a client are "stagnating".
Interesting stuff, but without any sources to back up the stats or quotes, it's tough to view this as anything more than cheerleading for the sector. For instance, I believe browser-based is a smarter choice than downloadable client, but I've heard little evidence to support Jessica's notion that downloadable client games are stagnating.
Virtual Worlds Forum Europe is on now in London, England until tomorrow.
Editors Note: Since this article was posted, Jessica has been kind enough to reply (in the comments of this post) with the source for her stats and observations. Thanks, Jessica!