Tag Archives: games

Sold for a Zong

eBay acquires mobile payments provider and microtransaction specialist Zong for $240 Million. The race to monetize the lucrative mobile/social gaming space is definitely in high gear. Articles and analysis from:

Wall Street Journal  ” Zong’s customer list is a who’s who of social gaming and virtual world companies, including Zynga Inc., IMVU Inc., Walt Disney Co.’s Playdom Inc., Stardoll AB, IAC/InterActiveCorp.’s Zwinky and Shanda Games Ltd.’s Mochi Media. Not to mention the company’s arrangement with Facebook Inc. to sell the social network’s virtual currency.” 

CNET  ” Zong provides a mobile payments platform that facilitates carrier-direct billing for digital goods and services. Users pay for their purchases by entering their mobile phone number and payment is billed to the customer’s wireless service account. “

Forbes interviews Matrix Partners’ Dana Stalder about the rationale for the acquisition.

” There is certainly competition. I think Boku is the most-known competition here in the U.S., but there are two companies in Europe of roughly equal scale: in MindMatics Germany and Allopass France. All of these companies are formidable, but Zong has built the best team with the most direct relationships with carriers and the most converting payment flows in the business. “

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Filed under Paypal, social games, virtual currency, virtual goods, Zong

Watch and Earn

EA intends to integrate video ads into social games. The concept is called “incentivized social video” and the goal for the end user is to obtain points/level up/receive virtual currency (in-game) in exchange for watching an online video ad. On a side note, this is a potentially game changing promotional tool as virtually currency becomes integrated into more online activities besides games. In the long term, the trick is going to be providing some type of login or quiz that will require human interaction and thwart the bots that will be designed to game the system. A short, post viewing quiz that requires login would also provide critical feedback and invaluable data to the advertiser.

Further, a video campaign thoroughly embedded within the entire fabric of a contextually related social game would allow the advertiser to build a much more engaging and relevant experience with the end user if the advertiser is willing to “up the ante” and provide higher points or perhaps customized virtual goods that are earned exclusively by viewing a “series” of online videos and answering questions within an associated quiz widget.  If this can be achieved online video advertising tied to rewards and loyalty programs should be frickin’ gi-normous. Articles and analysis from:

Games.com  ” You know the feeling all too well. You hit a wall in your favorite Facebook game when you’ve run out of Energy. But instead of putting up for more, Madden suggests that players could watch a video ad for some more Energy. You get more Energy; EA gets its precious moola from advertisers; everyone is happy! Hey, at this point, anything beats shelling out cash. “

Inside Social Games ” With video advertising, Madden says he thinks advertisers can solve the challenges of engagement and scalability in social games. The trick is allowing the user to feel in control of the experience, as in not forcing them to watch an ad while playing game, and to slot the experience into the game in a targeted way. “

Forbes ” EA is already working on a new system that will allow advertisers to dynamically place brands or messaging across platforms and get measurable results that can be compared to traditional television or Internet advertising buys. “

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Filed under EA, social games, virtual currency, virtual goods

Are you Ready for RewardVille?

Zynga rolls out its own reward system RewardVille and virtual currency called “Z-Coins”. Articles and analysis from:

Red Orbit ” Media conglomerates such as Walt Disney Corp. and Time Warner Inc. should be worried, says, BTIG Research analyst, Rich Greenfield. Zynga threatens to take viewers away from their televisions and movies. Disney responded to the threat by purchasing its rival, Playdom for $563 million last year. “

NPR ” The lure this time is “RewardVille,” a show of appreciation aimed at getting players even more absorbed in their online farms, cities, crime rings and poker games. The program unveiled a week ago doles out game points and credits that can be used to buy more virtual goodies on Zynga’s existing games. “

MarketingVox ” These games’ popularity is drawing people’s away from TV sets, movies and other sources of entertainment. “Media has been fragmenting, and Zynga seems to be doing the exact opposite. It is growing at a staggering rate and reaching eyeballs that none of these companies are doing. “

Video: Zynga’s Rewardville trailer

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Filed under Facebook, Facebook Credits, RewardVille, social games, virtual currency, virtual goods, Zynga

Bringing the Hammer Down

As widely anticipated, Facebook makes their virtual currency, Facebook Credits a  mandatory option for all social game developers that use a payment system.  Articles and analysis from:

The Wall Street Journal ” Facebook began testing Credits as a form of currency with some developers in 2009. It says they are now used in more than 350 applications from 150 developers, representing more than 70% of virtual goods transactions volume on Facebook.”

WebProNews “ Users and developers shouldn’t react with too much dismay.  Other in-game currencies will be still be permitted, and Facebook intends to let developers keep 70 percent of the revenue from transactions that involve Facebook Credits.”

The Street ” While some game developers have their own currency payment methods, most large app companies already use Facebook Credits.” 

GigaOM ” Facebook developers will have the option of using their own payment system in addition to Facebook Credits but Facebook will be offering incentives like early access to product features and on-site promotion to help get them on board fully.”

Forbes “ Forex traders and global conspiracy theorists take note: with close to 600 million people using the system, we could be watching a Dollar rival spring to life. To the bunkers! ”

TechCrunch “ This is about more than purple cows and gold coins, too — in the long run, Facebook has a strong incentive to maximize the number of users who are signed up for Credits. Right now the vast majority of Credits are spent on gaming, but it’s very likely that Facebook will eventually begin allowing third-party websites to offer a ‘Pay With Facebook’ option, and that may include everything from digital content to physical goods.”

Video: interviews with social game developers concerning the initial Facebook Credits announcement at the  f8 Conference (about 10 months ago)

 

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Filed under Facebook Credits, social games, virtual currency, virtual goods

Virtual Shoppers spend Real Money

A new study from PlaySpan and VGMarket indicates that women are spending twice as much as men to purchase virtual items. Articles and analysis from:

Gamasutra “For the purposes of the study, virtual goods encompassed items, game content, and currency in social games, massively multiplayer games, and online PC and console games, including add-on levels and other DLC.”

CNET ” When looking at the median spent on first-party purchases within social-network games, the average female spent $55 dollars, compared to only $30 for males.”

VentureBeat ” Social networks are leading the market, with 32 percent of respondents making purchases in social networks.”

PR Web (Press Release)

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Filed under Facebook, Playspan, social games, social networks, virtual currency, virtual goods

GamePoints Gaining Users

Offerpal Media’s “GamePoints” gains over a half million users in less than a month. Articles and analysis by:

BizReport ” The most popular ways to earn virtual currency through the hub are watching videos, completing surveys or earning shopping rewards.”

VentureBeat ” The Game Points can be exchanged for in-game currency in more than 1,500 online games and apps. You can earn game points shopping at big-brand retailers such as Macy’s Overstock, Gap, Buy.com, Snapfish, McAfee, Eastern Mountain Sports, CostPlus, and hundreds more.”

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Filed under GamePoints, Offerpal Media, virtual currency

Fatfoogoo flows into Digital River

e-Commerce services provider Digital River acquires Fatfoogoo for $10 Million and immediately becomes a player in the virtual currency/goods marketplace. Articles and analysis by:

VirtualWorldsNews ” Digital River intends to combine its product offering with Fatfoogoo’s in the future, offering online merchants a single service for managing sales. The combined solution will offer turnkey support for implementing virtual goods, virtual currency, e-wallets, secondary marketplaces, and auction houses into a game.

VentureBeat ” Minneapolis-based Digital River is a publicly traded e-commerce company. Fatfoogoo, based in Vienna, Austria, provides a platform for game developers to implement virtual currency and virtual goods, digital representations of real-world objects popularly used in online games.

Minneapolis StarTribune ” Digital River said that combining its operations with those of Fatfoogoo will enable it to offer game companies a more comprehensive marketing service. Last year Digital River earned $49.8 million on revenue of $403.8 million”

MarketWatch – Press Release

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Filed under Digital River, Uncategorized