I had an interesting discussion this week on the topic of microtransaction models, East-West interaction, and the fact that few people pay much attention to such issues (or dismiss them out of hand); Games In Motion has a nice interview up illustrating the 'fly under the radar' nature of a lot of those microtransaction models. WIM sat down to chat with Rob Goldberg, CEO of GMG Entertainment — the company produces branded pre-paid cards for a couple of franchises, sold at big box stores like Target — to talk about where the market is currently and where it's headed. They estimate somewhere between $75 and $100 million in sales this year, but what about the future?:
I estimate this year that you'll see EA enter this space for some of their games, and a few other big names are absolutely interested. In fact we're in final negotiations with a couple of recognizable names. We tend to estimate the size of the total pre-paid gaming card business when we do our numbers, and this year we're looking to something between $75-100 million dollars in sales across North America. We see that going to $250-300million in 2009 and being in the region of a half-billion by 2010. We see this market growing dramatically in the next two to five years.
The whole interview is an interesting look at how the industry deals with retailers via middlemen like GMG; it also points to the popularity of these models that many 'serious' gamers tend to ignore.