Increasingly, there appears to be some evidence that instead of simply looking at the monthly active user list of a social game, you should increasingly look at how many “whales” the game can attract to it.
By whales, we’re not referring to anyone’s weight here–we’re talking about the amount of money these players spend in a social game.
According to Inside Social Games, whales are defined as those that spend over $1000 in virtual goods per year.
These people are pretty rare in social gaming, so attracting them is key. A report by Inside Social Games has shown that once whales have landed in a particular game, they tend to stick with that game alone–therefore spending all of their virtual good money in that game:
As you can see, the amount of people that spend more than $25 in more than one game is not all that significant compared to those that simply pay up in one title.
Who are these whales? “Whales don’t come from all regions in equal proportions. Further divisions between users depend on sex, age and playing habits.
A greater percentage of women spend on social games than do men; the proportion of top spenders also skews toward players under 25 years old,” reports Inside Social Games.