An international mobile commerce platform, DOCOMO Digital, discovered the average mobile gamer spends £61 a year on in-game purchases, while a third (32%) spend over £500 a year. But amazingly, huge amounts of this is left unused!

Abandoned In-game Currency

DOCOMO Digital surveyed 2,910 Brits who regularly play mobile games to discover how much in-game currency they have bought and left unused in games they no longer play.

Two-fifths (39%) of players said they had knowingly deleted games with Abandoned In-game currency left unused. This is despite the fact that half of gamers (49%) have said they have never paid to download a game.

In-game purchases can include character customisation, extra lives and reduce waiting times for upgrades and progression. These items are often bought with each game’s unique and virtual in-game currency which is purchased in exchange for real-world currency and is often non-refundable.

Out of the 100 most popular free mobile games on the AppStore this August, three quarters of them have in-game purchases (76%), while 64 out of the top 100 paid for games also feature in-game purchases.

The five mobile games with the most unused in-game currency are:

1. Candy Crush Saga – £26.7 million in Gold Bars

2. Clash of Clans – £25.3 million in Gems

3. Pokémon Go– £23.5 million in PokéCoins

4. Angry Birds (all versions) – £21 million in Gems

5. Candy Crush Soda Saga – £17.2 million in Gold Bars

Real Money v Virtual Money

The psychologyofgames.com wrote an interesting article on the “perils of in-game currency”, and how virtual currency causes us to “disconnect the act of paying from the act of receiving in the mind of the shopper”. This makes us far more likely to purchase.

Another issue which can lead to in-game currency overspending is through what’s called “transparency” which is basically the ease of tracking how much you’re spending. Using real money this is easy, but far harder with virtualised currency.