Last June, I had the opportunity talk to theater full of high school Science Fair attendees. At the lunch before hand, the adult sponsors and teachers asked me what I did.
Conversations about Zynga and making money online moved to their complete shock and surprise that anyone would ever buy a virtual good online, especially any virtual good for a game.
As surprised as the adults were, the high school students at the table thought nothing of purchasing a song from iTunes, or buying a really cool sword for their favorite game.
It’s a crazy feeling to be sitting at a lunch table, staring straight into a Grand Canyon of a generation gap like that.
Also tells me that it’s all about context.
Without the context of a “record”, “cassette tape” or even a “CD”, buying a bunch of “bits” that turn into music when you play them on your MP3 player is the natural thing to do.
Without the context of knowing how much better it is to play “World of Warcraft” with the “Uber Sword of Doom”, it doesn’t make sense to spend real money on a virtual good for a game.
I’ll remember this conversation and the context of this lunch the next time I wonder “why would anyone want to buy that?”.