Game companies are adopting virtual goods models as a way to monetize games. They make the games free to play, but players have to buy virtual goods if they want to upgrade their play experience or customize their characters. Of course, $200 million of that was raised by Facebook, which has virtual goods payment options in its business but isn’t really a virtual goods company. That means that seven virtual goods companies raised $37 million in the quarter.
The $37 million figure compares to $69.1 million invested in virtual goods companies in the first quarter and $100.7 million invested in virtual goods companies in the second quarter of 2008.
“Taken in context of the worldwide economic downturn, this quarter’s numbers held up fairly well when compared to the general decline in venture capital investments, especially in technology-related industries,” said Christopher Sherman, executive director of Engage Digital.
After Facebook (which, again, doesn’t really count), the second largest investment of the quarter was $13 million for Boku, a mobile payments start-up that purchased Paymo and Mobillcash. If you exclude Facebook, mobile playments investments account for 40 percent of the funding this quarter. There were no investments in mobile payments related to virtual goods in the first quarter or the second quarter of 2008. Keep in mind, the second quarter was extremely weak overall.