Let's say you're playing an MMO with two of your mates. They could be online friends, real-world friends, or some combination of both. According to a new study conducted by PlaySpan
, one of you has used real-world money to purchase virtual items.
The research was compiled last month and samples a pool of 1,000 gamers drawn from a VGMarket database. While the one-in-three statistic is interesting in its own right, even more compelling is the evidence that suggests 57 percent of participants purchase virtual items on a monthly basis.
You might think that social networking games are responsible for the lion's share of these percentages, but VGMarket's data show console games with online play accounting for 51 percent of the purchases, with social titles claiming second place at 30 percent (MMOs came in third, if you're curious). The study presents quite a number of curious factoids despite its relatively small sample size, and you can check out all the findings at the official PlaySpan website. It's also worth noting that downloading the full study requires providing PlaySpan with your personal info via a web registration form.