Virtual goods

Virtual goods is a basic gamification mechanic focused on economics. Their function is to create a deeper emotional bond between the user and the game. That is due to the user's desire to receive virtual goods and keep them.

Virtual goods belong to the "Artefacts" category. Contrary to other artifacts, such as virtual items and keys, virtual goods display the external, material aspect of the user's in-game success.

Virtual goods belong to the Narrative and Economics layers in the Model of gamification (see Model)

Strong effect

Virtual goods are a visual representation of achievements. They increase the user's level of emotional engagement, as they allow users to choose themselves what kind of product they will purchase.

Weak effect

The main risk in the design of virtual items is that they can mismatch the chosen style of gameplay. There is a risk of mismatch between the goods themselves and their cost; hence they should be thoroughly designed.

Duration of the effect

A game with a small set of virtual goods is suitable for short-term objectives. When the gamification is long-term, you should set up a wide variety of virtual goods, their updating, and rotation, as well as a system of special offers, such as seasonal sales.

What can I do with this?

You can spark users' interest by implementing interactive virtual goods. Like when they can be examined, rotated, or opened for more information. Interactive virtual goods increase the time spent by users in the system and help to memorize significant information that can be transmitted through such interactive means.
Some virtual goods can be built piece by piece, while others can be upgraded over time. These actions are a part of customization, namely, modification and decoration of virtual goods.
Users can choose themselves which of the virtual goods will be displayed ar their page or profile picture.
When virtual goods become valuable, then the higher the amount of them users have, the higher their in-game status is. The ability to accumulate virtual goods is another motivating mechanic for completing the actions for which the game was designed.
Specific collections of themed virtual goods may be a part of more complex games. These collections simplify users' guidance, allowing them to instantly figure out what is expected of them in a current position while also further motivating them to act as instructed by the game.
It’s better to make receiving virtual goods perceived as the means and not the goal, so their value will last longer. This way, the user buys the virtual goods, not for the sake of their amount but rather to obtain or discover new in-game features.
Demonstration of the virtual goods purchased is a crucial mechanic that allows players to display their achievements for others to note.