My presentation at the Game Developers Conference 2010 Social & Online Games Summit, San Francisco, 10 March 2010.
Vili Lehdonvirta (2009) Virtual Item Sales as a Revenue Model: Identifying Attributes that Drive Purchase Decisions. Electronic Commerce Research, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 97-113.
Vili Lehdonvirta (2009) Virtual Consumption. Publications of the Turku School of Economics (A-11:2009), Turku.
Session Description: Virtual goods have become a primary means for social and online game developers to attract, retain and monetize users. But what makes virtual goods so desirable that people are willing to spend real money to get them? Several answers have been put forward that consist of factors such as self-expression and competitive advantage. Such abstractions offer little guidance to the developer designing their next virtual item, however. In this presentation, the question is approached from a very practical angle: what attributes are important in a virtual good for making it desirable to the users? What attributes do the users look at in a virtual item when making a purchase decision? Using fascinating examples from the past ten years of Western and Asian virtual goods success stories, the presentation will arrive at a model of ten concrete virtual item attributes that designers can adjust to influence the desirability of their offerings.