Welcome to the
Virtual Goods News Wrap-Up for the week of February 12, 2010. The
Wrap-Up is where VGN spotlights stories that we didn't get to cover
individually, but still make for interesting reading about the virtual
Apple secured a patent this week for a 3D virtual shopping environment, probably intended for an enhanced version of the App Store. Apple holding a patent on the 3D shopping concept, however, could have far-reaching consequences for other sellers of digital items like virtual goods.
Social networks in China are keeping roughly a 50 to 70% cut from sales of virtual goods in third-party applications on Chinese social networks. ARPU among Chinese users is also very weak compared to their US counterparts on social networks, despite fewer barriers to payment and a higher cultural acceptance of virtual goods.
FarmVille launched its Valentine's Day virtual gifts on Monday. By Wednesday, FarmVille users had sent over 500,000 Valentine's virtual gifts to each other.
Location-based social network Foursquare passes the important milestone of 1 million check-ins per week. Most users are checking in from the iPhone platform.
Bigpoint has opened to a Silicon Valley office to help the company strengthen its US presence. The Silicon Valley office will be Bigpoint's second US location, alongside its New York office.
Gowalla has rolled out an API that developers can use to build apps for the Gowalla platform. Gowalla is encouraging devs to build apps that combine aspects of location and community.
John "Neverdie" Jacobs this week sold a single virtual item in the Planet Calypso virtual world for a stunning $69,000 sum to David "Deathifier" Story. Neverdie purchased the egg in 2006 from a member of the Planet Calypso community who completed a unique quest. The virtual egg is a one-of-a-kind item in the game world that may hatch at some point in the future.
RockYou doubled its traffic in December to 106 million users, according to Quantcast. In terms of overall US reach among social media companies, RockYou is now in fourth place– behind Google, Yahoo, and Facebook. RockYou CEO Lance Tokuda credits the sudden growth to a virtual gifts deal with MySpace and a new social game on Facebook.
Tapulous's latest iPhone hit, Riddim Ribbon, is employing a very similar virtual goods strategy to Tapulous's Tap Tap Revenge 3. This game monetizes primarily through sale of additional music tracks to play in the game, provided by star musical group the Black Eyed Peas.
This week Linden Lab rolled out a new wishlist feature to its Xstreet XL Web shop this week, just in time for Valentine's Day. Now Xstreet XL users can display virtual items they want, which Linden seems to hope will drive a lot of Valentine's Day gift purchases.