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Many online game operators facilitate the sale of virtual goods by incorporating a virtual currency within the online game. Virtual currencies generally are earned either through user actions, progress within the game or purchased for cash. For example, virtual currency can be earned by completing an action for an advertiser (e.g., completing a marketing survey, subscribing to a mailing list or a signing up for a free trial for an unrelated vendor's service). This paper focuses on the different revenue recognition methods applicable to the sale of virtual goods for cash (or purchased virtual currency) in a free-to-play game environment.
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