Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why is Runescape successful? Beause it costs $5 a month!

"Until recently, most MMOGs were only offering consumers the subscription business model, which limited their payment options. Younger consumers, without access to a credit card or unable to get their parents to agree to a $15 a month payment ("That's as much as cable!"), have been underrepresented in the MMOG space. The average age of an MMOG player was about 25 years old. As discussed in detail in our report, more affordable games like the digitally distributed Runescape by Jagex are finally bringing younger players to the genre. Runsecape has 850,000 subscribers at $5 a month and it was never released at retail. This group of consumers have proven to be a lucrative force in the rest of the interactive entertainment market and they could be the true key for expansion of MMOGs. With the introduction of other business models, such as the Korean imported free-to-play/digital item sales model, the market could broaden even more."

HABBO MiniCards

Great idea: Habbo mini cards. Habbo and Moo have teamed up to make Habbo MiniCards! Select different backgrounds, position your Habbo avatar and enter your own text in little speech bubbles, to make a unique set of wonderful cards.

A box of 100 cards made with your own Habbo costs £9.99 / $19.99/ €14.99.made for you.

Country-specific payments pay off

On, the player has a choice between different payment systems. This is due to the fact that not everyone has a credit card or online wallet, and also because the availability of payment systems differ from country to country. Reinout te Brake:
"For example, payment solutions like IDeal and RaboDirect are available in the Netherlands, but not accessible to German or Spanish players. As one of the first game publishers, we therefore invested in a country-specific payment environment in which different renowned payment systems are integrated. This way, players can opt for payment via bill settlement systems such as IDeal , MasterCard , RaboDirect and Click&Buy . It is also possible to buy credits via an SMS or a national paying number. Since the introduction of the new payment system, the conversion degree has shown a considerable increase: the number of players that play in the "play for real" environment, has increased markedly in the last few months."

Boonty's Payment System & Starmedia

Boonty partners with Starmedia in South America and Hispanic USA
"If they decide to purchase the game, StarMedia customers can do so via the International payment system integrated in the Boonty Solution. The Boonty catalogue offers an extensive range of games made by various game publishers such as Acclaim, Atari, GameHouse, UbiSoft or Wildtangent, are offered between € 9.95 and € 35.95."

Offline Payments (Ukash & Habbo & Stardoll & Faketown)

Engaging with the 50% of teens and young adults that lack a credit card to pay online1 has become a major challenge to the online Social Networks. At stake is a share of the £20 billion worth of income that it’s estimated the UK’s 6.7m 11-17 year olds have at their disposal.
It’s so much more convenient and secure for these to use cash online, and now, with Ukash cash vouchers they can, as Ukash is now accepted on a number of major Social Networks including Habbo Hotel, Stardoll and Faketown.

$1Billion market (but how do you make the money?)

According to a research by analysts ‘Screen Digest’, millions of people are now occupying virtual online worlds, and the market for massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) is worth more than 1 billion dollars, in the West. Games such as World of Warcraft and worlds like Habbo Hotel are fast becoming ‘significant platforms’ in the converged media world’. "There`s a whole ream of different genres and spaces emerging," a private news channel quoted the report author Piers Harding-Rolls, as saying. “Revenues from subscriptions to MMOGs will rise to 1.5bn by 2011,” he said.

GoPets gets mobile billing with TxtNation

GoPets have teamed up with txtNation to deliver premium content to their millions of users

GoPets, the Seoul-based virtual community, has over half a million end-users. With a truly global community, based on interactive pets, a truly global billing platform was required. GoPets have teamed up with txtNation, the leading supplier of adGvanced billing solutions, to deliver premium content regardless of the end-user’s location or payment. (below the blah blah of the press release). preference.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mobile Payments Expensive Down-Under

The cost of transactions is putting New Zealanders off using cell phones to make payments. Fees are the greatest barrier to uptake of m-payment options, says mobile technology researcher Associate Professor Dennis Viehland.

Skype, Jyve & Click&Buy

Jyve teamed up with Click&Buy to process online payments made by community users seeking expert, monetizable advice. Click&Buy's commission rate: 15 percent. Skype says its new Skype Prime product is still in the very early stages of its lifecycle and was "built from the ground up" just like Skype itself. And who are we to say it wasn't? Perhaps they were just too slow about releasing it. But you have to admit the timing's fishy, and the 30 percent commission seems inordinately steep, considering two lesser-known competitors (without the leverage of 171 million users and all that eBay money) are offering a similar – really similar – service for half the price.

Skype's Payment Partners

Partnerships with the following companies allow Skypers to pay in 14 currencies on for SkypeIn, SkypeOut, Skype Voicemail, ringtones and avatars:

  • Bibit
    Credit Card processing, offline bank transfers and online banking.
  • Click&Buy from Firstgate
    Account-based payments service provider in 18 countries.
  • Global Collect
    Online banking and offline bank transfers in 40 countries.
  • Mobiltron
    Prepaid cards available in retail stores (e.g. in Scandinavia).
  • Moneybookers
    Local payment methods in 33 countries.
  • PayByCash
    Cash payments and other alternative payment methods.
  • PayPal
    The leading online payments company, part of eBay like Skype.
  • ProcCyber
    Credit Card processing.
  • Ukash
    Retail payments in cash in thousands of shops, so far only in Western Europe.

WOW bringing old and new players together

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade sold through approximately 3.5 million copies within one month following its mid-January launch in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. This includes nearly 1.6 million sold in Europe, and more than 1.9 million sold in regions that play on North American realms, including more than 100,000 copies in Australasia. World of Warcraft’s worldwide subscriber base now numbers more than 8.5 million and is continuing to grow as new and returning players join existing players in the game. "World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees’ territories are defined along the same rules."

Clever extension of subscriber base...

Second Life for Casual Gamers "Flowplay" ... but based on Club Penguin

Another ex-Real Networks Exec starts a virtual world a la Philip Rosedale... "Derrick Morton left RealNetworks last September to create FlowPlay, a startup that he describes as a "virtual world platform powered by casual gaming. "Morton said he is basing FlowPlay on the success of, a virtual world for kids between the ages of eight to 14. The Kelowna, B.C., startup -- which Morton said is "exploding" with more than 1 million monthly visitors -- allows kids to sign up for free, but also charges monthly subscription fees of $5.95. "FlowPlay plans to differentiate itself from ClubPenguin by going after older teenagers. (According to ComScore Media Metrix, about 30 percent of casual game players are under the age of 24). That's an area also being targeted by Doppelganger, a San Francisco startup that recently landed $5 million.

Boonty's Payment Network (Payment Platform for Game-makers)

"Do you think the integration of the e-commerce engine will prove an incentive to developers?" Yes. We have implemented into the Boonty network over 85 billing systems around the world, and it is simply way too much to integrate/maintain for ordinary developer. Furthermore, having an engine tied to a microtransaction business model will also provide them with additional revenue opportunities."

Virtual World Prepaid Cards (Maplestory in Target)

Maplestory launched a prepaid card in Target ( Here is a BusinessWeek article on them mentioning the prepaid cards:
"Now the question is, will Americans spend real money in virtual worlds? (Older games rake in subscriptions or down- load fees.) MapleStory "was a litmus test to see if U.S. audiences would have spending patterns similar to Korea," says Min Kim, Nexon America's director of game operations. To make it easy, Nexon Cash cards, which are used to buy digital goods, are being sold at Target (TGT ) stores. So far, so good: In February, North American players spent $1.6 million on 600,000 virtual products within MapleStory."