Earlier this week, New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Center played host to a convergence of two trade shows, as both the 107th American International Toy Fair and Engage! Expo welcomed a diverse group of exhibitors and speakers. For certain attendees, the pairing of Toy Fair with the Engage! Expo, a conference that focused primarily on virtual goods, might have at first seemed somewhat out-of-place. Beyond the giant stuffed animals, puzzle games, and highly popular robotic hamsters that populated much of Toy Fair, Engage! showcased leading entrepreneurs in the new digital retail phenomenon – the virtual goods industry.
As reported by Inside Network and covered here on TriplePointPR.com, this year, the virtual goods industry is projected to drive $1.6 billion in revenue in the U.S. alone. While the ability to purchase virtual goods has existed in online communities for quite some time now, the phenomenon that is social gaming hasushered in a brand new audience for microtransaction purchases – the general consumer.
While traditional retailers and toymakers struggle to survive the stormy and rather unpredictable economic recession, the virtual goods industry is booming. Selling non-physical items, the providers of virtual goods have seen just as much (and presumably more) success than long time brands and veterans of the physical toy industry present at the Javits Center this week. The reason for such success is simple – the provider of the virtual good, which can be looked upon as a modern toy manufacturer, is smarter and armed with more consumer information than the producer of the antiquated physical retail toy.