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Friday, June 19, 2009

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Report Forecasts Impressive Growth For Virtual Worlds
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Strategy Analytics, a market research firm, recently released a new report forecasting a large growth in players for virtual worlds in the next few years. Among other things the report predicted that the number of players will grow from the current 186 million to almost 640 million by the year 2015.

The firm said it sees the global population of virtual world users growing from 186 million today to almost 640 million by 2015 -- that's almost one hundred million new players a year, a nearly 25 percent compounded annual growth rate. The fastest growing demographic is kids between the ages of 5 and 9 which the company predicts will grow 27 percent; the current largest segment of virtual worlds players, tweens and teens, should grow by some 21 percent, according to the company.

Overall, as virtual worlds continue to improve the user experience, Strategy Analytics see a conversion rate from registrations to active users at a growth rate of 38 percent through 2015.

"The high conversion of registrants to active users demonstrates that users are finding value -- in the form of entertainment, engagement, and social interaction." That is according to Barry Gilbert, Vice President of the Strategy Analytics Gaming Sector and author of the company's just-released Virtual Worlds Market Forecast 2009-2015.

"Virtual worlds have largely overcome enabling restrictions in terms of broadband access, computing power, and ease of use, and are now experiencing significant interest among major brands, as well as traction among targeted demographics," added Harvey Cohen, President of Strategy Analytics.

When it comes to revenue growth, the key drivers, the company says, will be microtransactions, subscriptions, and advertising/sponsorships, with microtransactions expected to grow from slightly over $1 billion in 2008 to $17.3 billion in 2015. Microtransactions will account for approximately 86 percent of all revenue generated by virtual worlds.
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Virtual Worlds News: Skyrocketing Growth

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