You've been logged out of GDC Vault since the maximum users allowed for this account has been reached. To access Members Only content on GDC Vault, please log out of GDC Vault from the computer which last accessed this account.

Click here to find out about GDC Vault Membership options for more users.


Session Name:

Why Do People Buy Virtual Goods? Ten Attributes to Influence Desirability


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.

Did you know free users get access to 30% of content from the last 2 years?

Get your team full access to the most up to date GDC content

  • GDC 2010
  • Vili Lehdonvirta
  • Helsinki Institute for Information Technology
  • free content
  • Social & Online Games Summit
  • Other