D'Choc CEO Trip Hawkins is delivering the keynote to kickoff Engage! Expo in San Jose next week entitled "A New Approach To Virtual Goods." Organizers promise he will "announce and explain a new game service that gives a virtual item 'platform power' across a variety of games, networks and devices." I'm eager to hear the full details... anyone out there going to this conference?
The idea that one could purchase a virtual item (a weapon or an outfit for your avatar) within one game and use it in a host of other games would be unique in mobile and ostensibly compelling for Hawkins' "omni" gamers (casual, social, time constrained) that he believes dominate the mobile games market. Based on the success with this form of monetization on mobile in certain Asian markets, particularly South Korea (enuring to the benefit of publishers like Gamevil), the financial opportunity of such a platform could be substantial. There's been a lot of industry buzz about this in the Europe/Americas... and microtransactions for virtual goods within Apps was one of the most highly touted features of iPhone OS 3.0... but I still haven't seen any groundbreaking implementations outside of Asia. Perhaps that's about to change.