Viximo founder Brian Balfour states that Americans will spend between $400 and $600 million on virtual goods in 2009, as reported by the San Francisco Business Times. Balfour states that US spending on virtual goods was roughly half that in 2008, in the $200 to $300 million range, and between $25 and $50 million in 2007. Balfour values the global market for virtual goods in 2009 at $5.5 billion, an estimate consistent with Plus Eight Star's evaluation of the virtual goods market in Asia alone at $5 billion.
The Times points to several signs that the already-booming virtual goods market may continue to grow further over the next year. In the past year Zynga has expanded from 263 employees to 340, with 110 positions still open for hiring. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus predicts that the US virtual goods market will exceed $15 billion by 2014.
Mochi Media co-founder Jameson Hsu reports that the company's new virtual goods are earning at 10 to 20 times the rate of advertising. Hi5's Michael Trigg expects virtual currency sales to account for 15% of the company's expected $25 million in revenue this year. Meez CEO James Cahill reports that virtual goods sales accounted for 30% of his company's estimated $5 to $10 million in revenue last year.
A great deal of the major players in the virtual goods business are based in San Francisco, where Hot or Not began selling some of the earliest virtual gifts in 2004. Many current companies dealing in the virtual goods business are less than five years old or may have only implemented the virtual goods aspects of their businesses in the past year or two. the virtual goods appears to have much potential for growth yet in it, though it remains to be seen just how long the sector will remain hot.
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