Live Gamer to power EA microtransactions

Ronny Kerr · July 26, 2010 · Short URL:

Playfish purchaser looks to microtransaction monetization platform for its social games

Live Gamer

EA on Monday announced that it has agreed to a partnership with Live Gamer, a monetization platform for microtransactions.

The New York-based Live Gamer offers a seemingly indomitable array of payment strategies and EAgateways. In addition to the usual suspects, like virtual goods merchandising, analytics, and virtual item gifting, the monetization platform also provides support for fictional (earned in-game) currencies, item storefronts, and catalog management.

A vast breadth of options for monetization is, after all, no small part of the huge draw for businesses to the social gaming space. Making money might require more creativity from developers, but just one look at successful startups like Zynga and Gaia proves that profits can be found.

Electronic Arts, the video game developer and pioneer most famous for its highly successful franchises The Sims and Rock Band, assured its desire to move into the social gaming space back in November of last year, when the company acquired Playfish, a social gaming startup. When that deal was first announced, EA paid Playfish at least $275 million in cash and $25 million in equity retention arrangements, with another potential $100 million in cash waiting for Playfish owners if the studio reached certain performance milestones by the end of 2011.

With today's announcement, it looks like EA finally means to get serious about making some of that money back. And they really shouldn't have any trouble doing so.

By 2015, the virtual goods-based monetization model will grow to be an estimated $7 billion market, according to a DFC Intelligence report. The only alternative big moneymaker, advertising, isn't as attractive to budding businesses in the social gaming space, likely because so much of the Web for the past few years has been founded on that same model. In virtual goods, social games have a trick all their own.

We contacted EA for more details about the deal and will update this story accordingly when a reply is received.

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Playfish is a social games company that creates games for people to play together.

Founded in October 2007 by casual and mobile games veterans and backed by $3M in seed funding, we believe games are more fun when played with friends and family. So we are working on combining the best elements of casual games, social networks, MMOGs and virtual worlds to create entirely new, more social ways of enjoying great games together.

Traditional computer games focus on standalone game play on consoles, your PC or on your mobile. Games that do allow you to play together with others online normally require you to buy the game, go online and try and find like-minded new friends who are also playing the game. This is something that usually only the most dedicated gamers are prepared to do.

Our social games are different. Social games allow you to play together with real-world friends and family using the infrastructure built by social networks. This is in some ways a return to the roots of games. You play with the same people you would play cards, board games or go bowling with in the real world. Sharing the game experience with friends makes it more compelling and fun.

At Playfish we believe social games are a big part of the future of the video games industry, and are working hard to be the leading company in this emerging sector.

Playfish is headquartered in London, UK with offices in Beijing, China and Troms√ł, Norway.