Thursday, October 29, 2009
Obopay Offers Game Payments
They will kick ass in this huge space.... From http://venturebeat.com/2009/10/28/obopay-moves-into-mobile-payments-for-online-games/#at
Obopay, a mobile payment company funded by Nokia, is announcing today that it is moving into online games so that you can buy items in social network games using your mobile phone. Obopay is one of a number of startups that make it easy to pay for services with a mobile phone. Users can mobilize their credit or debit cards by linking them to a mobile phone number. They can then pay for services by giving their phone number and typing in a PIN code for security. Online merchants like it because it eliminates friction in payments. So far, Obopay has focused on payments between people who have cell phones. It is also powering the new Nokia Money service which you can use to buy cell phone minutes, pay bills, or buy goods and services. Now, with today’s announcement, the company is adding payment for games on social networks such as Facebook. Obopay says there are lots of synergies between powering Nokia Money and handling mobile payments for games. Although it is late to the games market, Obopay has a lot going for it. The company was founded in 2005. Its partners include Nokia, AT&T, Verizon Wireless and MasterCard. Today’s announcement extends Obopay payment system to let people use their phone numbers to make purchases inside games using a credit or debit card attached to the mobile number. The user enters the mobile phone number and their PIN number, without having to leave the game itself. On Facebook, for instance, the user doesn’t have to be redirected to another web site to make the payment. Normally, lots of transactions are abandoned if a user has to leave a web site. With easier ways to pay, users will stay inside games longer, and that means better monetization for merchants. Obopay says that it has an advantage over rivals because the merchants also don’t have to give up a large percentage of their revenue to carriers who fulfill mobile payments via cell phone bills. The new Obopay system is already in use at game companies, which are yet to be announced. Obopay has about 200 employees. Rivals include PayPal Mobile, Zong, Boku, MPesa, and others. Besides Nokia, investors include AllianceBernstein, Essar Telecom USA Limited, ONSET Ventures, Qualcomm, Redpoint Ventures, Richmond Management, and Wolfensohn & Co. In March, Nokia said it put $70 million into Obopay.