Virtual goods are selling like hotcakes in Sony’s new PS3-based virtual world ‘Home,’ says Susan Panico, Sr. Director of the Playstation Network at Sony (SNE) in an exclusive interview with SAI.
When everyone has the same tools to create a virtual worlds avatar, buying something no else has — or no one else can afford — is the only way to stand out.
Susan didn’t provide numbers, but she said in Home’s first four days, virtual goods priced from 49 cents to $4.99 have generated more revenue for Sony than PS3 movies and video priced up to $14.99 generated in their first week. “It’s a classic 80/20 model, where 20 per cent of your customers create 80 per cent of your income,” she said.
The hot ticket item so far: Costumes, with Santa Claus outfits being a huge seller. “You can imagine the opportunity with costumes for partnering with other companies and their intellectual property,” Susan said.
Other items from Susan’s talk with SAI:
- We were wrong in assuming the removal of speech from ‘Home’ had anything to do with widespread reports of female PS3 gamers being harassed. Speech was taken offline for a technical fix, and service was restored yesterday.
- With regards to that harassment, Susan reiterated Sony’s “zero tolerance” policy and siad “we’re still in open beta.” She said “abuse reporting,” the ability to mute other avatars, and “rapidly scaling up our moderation team” should fix the problems.
- Corporate sponsorships like Red Bull represent “a strong component of the ecosystem of Home.” Expect more partnership announcements in Q1.
- The long-term idea for the Playstation network: To make the PS3 a replacement for cable boxes, with Sony’s Hollywood studios bringing exclusive content to PS3 owners. “We look aspirationally at HBO, the way they have ‘Sex and the City’ and other shows,” Susan said.