So, your kid is pestering you about a new virtual world they’ve seen, and ask you for your credit card. Hold on, these virtual worlds are meant to be free, aren’t they? Avatar Generation has one of the more comprehensive databases of kids virtual worlds on the net, and we have analysed their costs to help you decide on the best world for your kid.
Types of Costs in Virtual Worlds
Compulsory Subscriptions: Some virtual worlds require a compulsory subscription to be paid before being able to enter the virtual world. This means that no access to any features are allowed prior to paying a subscription.
Optional Subscriptions: These are subscriptions that generally give extra features and tools to members, but are not compulsory to gain access to the virtual world.
Microtransactions: Microtransactions refer to the in-world currency that can be used to buy extra features, avatar clothing or entry to games. This currency is bought with real money, usually with a credit card.
Toy Purchase: Toy Purchase virtual worlds are those that only allow entry when a real life toy is bought. The toy will come with a code or key that is used to enter the virtual world.
Avatar Generation Analysis of Virtual World Costs
Out of our database of 181 open virtual worlds, 151 had some type of optional or compulsory payment. Our analysis has shown that the most common form of payment in a kids virtual world are Optional Subscriptions. Almost 30% of our virtual worlds surveyed had this type of subscription. These virtual worlds are useful for trying out the game and seeing whether you and your child are satisfied with it. This type of subscription is a good way of getting your kids to try out a virtual world, and if they are happy with it, and you feel that they are enjoying and learning from it, you can subscribe.
Microtransactions are another very common way of spending money in virtual worlds. Almost half of all our virtual worlds surveyed used some type of Microtransaction. In fact, many players spend much larger amounts than basic subscriptions in this way. It is also a very good way for virtual world owners to make money. Many of these virtual worlds that offer Microtransactions, are free to register and play. A good way of managing Microtransactions for your kid is to offer some in return for chores or good behaviour.
Almost 13% of our Virtual worlds were totally free, and had no financial obligations such as Subscriptions or Microtransactions. These virtual worlds would be good for your kid to use if they have no experience of virtual worlds, or even for parents to try out the experience and feel of a virtual world. On the other end of the scale, we only found two virtual worlds that had compulsory subscriptions.
We analysed all of the virtual worlds that had monthly subscriptions, and found that the average was just under $7 per month. There was a huge range in different prices, with the maximum monthly subscription price at $14.90, to a minimum of $2.50.
Average Yearly Virtual World Subscription: $56.61
The difference in yearly subscriptions was higher, with a maximum yearly subscription of $109.99, to a minimum of $28.00. In our analysis we concluded that it made more financial sense buying yearly subscriptions, but this also depends on your kids likelihood of continuing to use the virtual world over a long period of time.
We would recommend you to do some research into the different virtual worlds that your kid might like using our search engine. The engine gives you lots of different options, including costs, and you and your kid can decide together which virtual world they would like to be a member of.
We will be publishing some more results from our extensive Virtual Worlds database over the next few months which will help you choose and monitor the different range of Worlds available for your kid.