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PlaySpan, the leading global monetization platform for mobile, social and online games and apps, and SuperData Research, the digital goods measurement firm, today released new data on the Latin American virtual goods market, with a special focus on Brazil, the fastest growing market for online entertainment in that region.

According to SuperData Research, which bases its estimates from the World Bank and Brazilian census in combination with PlaySpan's extensive gamer payments database, the overall virtual goods market in Latin America currently stands at $336 Million, with Brazil accounting for $165 Million or roughly 49% of the total market value. SuperData predicts the entire Virtual Goods Market in Latin America will increase by more than 50% in the next two years, amounting to $517 Million by 2012.

The Top 5 Countries in Latin America (based on market value): 

  •     Brazil    $165M
  •     Colombia    $44M
  •     Mexico    $42M
  •     Argentina    $19M
  •     Peru        $15M
  •     Other     $49M

Overall, Brazil has the highest ARPU for users in Latin America based on an annual per capita spending at $0.85, well above the region's average of $0.60. This is attributable to high internet penetration rates, where Brazil has nearly doubled its online population every three years since 2002 and now stands at around 110 million users.

Unlike western countries, however, credit cards are not as common in Brazil, so those looking to monetize effectively must consider alternate forms of payment. Based on information from PlaySpan's payments platform, Ultimate Pay, used by more than 1,000 online games, the payment method distribution for virtual items and currencies looks like this:

Preferred Payment Methods: 

  •     Bank Transfers    45.7%
  •     Credit/Debit Cards    26.7%
  •     Prepaid Cards        22.6%
  •     PayPal            4.4%
  •     Other            0.6%

"The predominance of prepaid cards, e-vouchers and bank transfers indicates that Brazilians prefer to pay with cash because they either don't have credit cards or would prefer that charges and fees not appear on their phone bill. This preference for cash opens up major opportunities for developers and publishers to capitalize on gifting seasons, and pay cycles," said Joost van Dreunen, President, SuperData Research.

"Emerging markets like Brazil and Latin America as a whole represent major opportunities for developers but, characteristically, they are very different from other regions of the world," said Karl Mehta, Founder & CEO of PlaySpan. "As the virtual goods market continues to expand and grow globally, PlaySpan is committed to providing the tools and analysis to help game industry executives take advantage of the next wave of growth in hard to monetize regions."

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