Game hardware maker Razer is launching zVault, a virtual currency platform that will reward gamers who use it to make payments for purchases and in-game transactions.

Irvine, Calif.-based Razer sells both hardware and software. To build loyalty, the company has created a secure digital wallet in zVault for its 22 million existing Razer ID customers. The company is also creating its zGold currency, which can be used to acquire games or items in games. And it is creating zSilver, a rewards system that allows players to cash in their earnings for goods.

Razer is doing this as a matter of convenience for gamers, as there are so many different ways to pay for games, and gamers currently have their money spread out across many fragmented systems. Many virtual currency platforms have limitations on which games you can buy with them, and many of them don’t have a rewards program either.

Here’s how it works: You sign in with a Razer ID and verify your zVault. You top up your account by adding funds to its using Paypal, debit cards, or credit cards. You can shop at Razer partner sites. When it comes time to check out, you use your zGold with a “pay with Razer” button. Then you earn zSilver, which can be redeemed for Razer gear.

Razer’s zGold units can convert to dollars at a rate of 100 zGold to one $1 in U.S. currency. In a test, Razer had more than 770,000 zVault wallet creations, with more than 376,000 zGold transactions over six weeks. Partners said they saw their sales transactions increase up 12 percent to 25 percent compared to a year earlier. And fans have increased their purchases by 13 percent, all without any promotion, said Rachel Hoon, marketing manager at Razer, in an interview with GamesBeat.

“The introduction of zVault is all about giving value to gamers with secure payment convenience and a great rewards program,” said Min-Liang Tan, CEO and cofounder of Razer, in a statement. “This is much more than a club or credit card perks program or micro-transaction solution. Our ultimate vision is a complete gamer economy expanding from the zVault ecosystem. It’s social, interactive, and truly useful, opening the doors to a safer way of doing business and an expansive rewards market for our fans.”

How to use zVault

Above: How to use zVault

Image Credit: Razer

On the zVault website, users can browse content and exclusive purchase offers, as well as rewards available for redemption using zSilver. Users can replenish their wallets by acquiring zGold packs on the site, which can be purchased in 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 denominations using PayPal, major credit cards, Openbucks, or Paysafecard.

Free-to-play games developed by Hi-Rez Studios (Smite or Paladins) and Smilegate West (CrossFire, Lost Saga) are currently accepting zGold. Game stores such as IndieGala and GamersGate have also collaborated with Razer zVault in expanding their payment offerings, allowing gamers to purchase games in the form of Steam keys.

Osama Deeb, Smilegate West’s global payments and partnerships lead, said in a statement, “Smilegate West is delighted to increase the mutually beneficial collaboration with Razer and making our product catalog available to an even wider audience than before. As a gamer-focused payment option, Razer zGold will allow Smilegate West to tap into more than 22 million gamers that are already part of the Razer network.”

Smilegate West is accepting zGold on its online portal Z8Games. Z8Games currently hosts Lost Saga, a free-to-play 3D fighting game, and CrossFire, which is the world’s most popular online first-person shooter with over 400 million registered users.

In the near future, Trion Worlds will also be integrating zGold as a payment option into its six game titles.

“Trion and Razer’s audiences are one and the same: tens of millions of dedicated gamers around the world,” said Scott Hartsman, CEO of Trion Worlds, in a statement. “It makes perfect sense to expand our amazing partnership with Razer to include the zVault payment and rewards program. We love finding great new ways for our players to earn additional rewards.”

To celebrate the official launch of zVault, Razer is offering benefits to Razer ID users for a limited time: a starter gift pack of bonus 2,000 zSilver, up to 30 percent additional Bonus zGold after users top up their wallet for a limited time only, more ways to earn zSilver and reap discount offers, and bonus in-game items for selected purchases using zGold.

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