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Live Gamer has partnered with payment provider Skrill to provide worldwide monetization options for online game publishers. The combined offering makes it easier for game publishers to launch games with Live Gamer’s virtual goods platform and Skrill’s Moneybookers payment system.
The “Live Gamer Payments by Skrill” partnership could remove friction that slows the growth of online games, helping game developers make more money from their games without requiring them to spend a lot of money on international expansions. The service will be especially useful to game companies that find they have users in a bunch of countries that don’t use traditional payment services, said Julian Artope, vice president of marketing for London-based Skrill.
In Poland, for instance, few people have credit cards and most make online purchases through bank accounts. But to accept a payment there, a developer would have to go in person to Poland and open a bank account. They would also have to wait a certain number of days before a payment clears. That doesn’t work when someone is buying something in an online game and wants to have an instant digital download experience. Also, if the publisher sends the virtual good to the gamer before the payment clears, there is a risk of a charge back if the funds aren’t in the gamer’s account.
With Skrill’s Moneybookers, the system can be much easier because the company already has a relationships in place. It has more than 100 payment methods in more than 200 countries. Moneybookers allows someone in Poland to instantly pay for a virtual item, and it offers charge back protection.
The game publisher can get paid instantly in the appropriate currency, such as American dollars or 40 other currencies, and then quickly send the virtual good to the game player. This means a greater percentage of users will buy goods, and the chances of fraud are much lower. The average revenue per paying user — a key measure of an online game’s success — will likely go up.
Under the partnership, Moneybookers will be one of the preferred payment systems in games that use Live Gamer’s virtual goods and monetization infrastructure. The result should be better online revenue, higher user acquisition and retention, more user engagement, and easier management of digital item sales, said Andrew Schneider, chief executive of New York-based Live Gamer. The payment system works with bank transfers, debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, Facebook Credits and prepaid cards. Skrill already has 17 million users of its digital wallet and more than 80,000 merchants are registered to work with Moneybooker’s payment system.
Live Gamer has deals in place with a variety of game publishers, including CCR, Electronic Arts, Namco Networks, REAL Networks and THQ. Those customers have more than 90 million users in 23 countries. Live Gamer has 35 employees, while Skrill has more than 500. Rivals include PlaySpan, which was acquired by Visa, and PayPal, which competes with Skrill.