Virtual Goods Making Real Money

A few years ago, it was exclusive on online games, but now even social networks are joining in the trend. Despite the general opinion that purchasing virtual goods are such as waste of money, it seems like more and more people are so into virtual life that they are willing to splurge their hard-earned funds and exchange them into virtual coins to buy the items that they need for their virtual homes, and the likes. And some people do make serious cash over these “virtual necessities”.

The virtual goods may be bought directly or by converting your cash into a virtual form through different payment methods (with credit card and Paypal being the most popular purchasing means). Such items are usually accessories for the avatars, materials for virtual homes, or weapons and items that can help players speed up in the games. Some games have also some other means to gain coins, such as signups for subscriptions, but the real business is still on the purchase of virtual money.

Second Life has the largest virtual economy, with around half a billion dollars. It appears that a lot of people are willing to convert their real currency into Lindberg money (the currency used in the game), so that they can buy the items and accessories they need. And Second Life is not the only lucrative “virtual zone”. Social networks such as Facebook are peppered with a lot of games that encourages the conversion of real-life money into virtual coins. In fact, in a report by Justin Smith, founder of Inside Network and Charles Hudson, VP of Serious Business, they predicted that by 2010, the sales for virtual goods and items will reach approximately $1.6 billion.

This thriving trade seems to indicate another possibility: that more and more people are being hooked with the idea of living a virtual life. Although the idea of spending real money over something that can only be used in the virtual zone has been receiving negative comments from a lot of critics, the business would apparently last for a long time yet.