Posts Tagged ‘mobile payments’

fatfoogoo getting serious about social

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Throughout our lifespan, fatfoogoo has created a number of monetization and payment platforms and options for a wide range of gaming companies. In 2006, when Martin Herdina and Daniel Petri set out to make a virtual marketplace for the trading and purchasing of virtual goods and services, the initial idea was to provide a marketplace for consumers to meet and trade/sell in-game virtual items and services. While this platform proved to be successful with gamers, game operators made it clear that they would rather keep a tighter hold on what was and what was not being traded within their titles. Et Viola, the modern version of today’s fatfoogoo was born with a white label services and technology model. And while there are a number of ‘traditional’ games and titles that we provide our services to, the undeniable growth and popularity of social games, as well as a number of other browser based games, has been certainly something we’ve been looking at for quite a while now.

ff_logo_whiteSpeaking to Justin Smith of insidesocialgames.com last week, Martin states, “We’ve been working with social app and game developers since the end of 2008, as the requirements are very similar to classical online game business models. The first social networking project we did was to provide store, white-label payments and virtual currencies for the avatar engine mEgo, now we are just working with Gogogic on powering Vikings of Thule – and some really exciting social apps/games projects are currently under the hood.”

As Smith states, we are based in Vienna, Austria, miles away from some of traditional games development hotbeds, we’ve also established offices in the UK and the US, with our very own Stevie Case running point on working closely with North American operators/developers.

“Our technology is purely international, so it’s capable of supporting multi-languages, multi currencies, multi-byte character-sets and different VAT-rates,” Herdina says. “However, in terms of business development we are mostly focusing on talking to potential partners in North America and Europe.”

Realizing that while social gaming might share a number of traditional facets, it also takes on it’s own brand of monetization. Specifically, in-game advertising can often be relied on as a primary means of revenues. To this end, we’ve partnered with a number of managed offer platforms in order to facilitate this monetization mechanism. “We treat offers as an alternative payment option, and therefore work with quite a few offer providers in different regions to ensure ideal coverage, like PayBuyPartner, AdParlor, GratisPay, and SponsorPay,” Herdina says.

With this particular attention turned out social games, naturally, facilitating the ease, and variety of payment options is key. We’ve partnered with a number of payment providers specifically focused on social games in order to ensure the highest levels of both client and customer satisfaction. Payment options include credit cards, direct debits, mobile payments, and prepaid cards, to name a few.

“We are expecting our ongoing and future projects in the social app/game space to contribute a significant part to our success in 2010,” Herdina says.

If you’re headed to the Browser Games Forum in Frankfurt this November, Martin will be speaking and available for questions both days.  To have a better look into who we are and what we offer, please visit our solutions section.

 

$237M + invested in virtual goods in 6 companies in Q2 2009

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Virtual Goods News has recently released new numbers on virtual goods investments for Q2 in 2009. While this study finds over $37 million being invested in 6 companies that either monetize in full or part through virtual goods sales, the numbers overall are markedly down.

Update: The folks over at the good ship Virtual Goods News have recently sent over an update.  Upping the total amount invested from $37 million to $237 million by way of the $200 million investment made by Russian firm Digital Sky in the Facebook social network that occurred on May 26.  Duly noted, Facebook does not primarily monetize via virtual goods, however their virtual gifts, and branded virtual gifts do pull down a significant revenue number, enough to make them a serious player in just about any virtual goods related market.  Obviously, this record breaking influx of cash seriously skews the numbers below.

virtualgoodsnewslogoQ1 2009 saw a total of $69.1 million invested, again, down from Q4 2008’s $100.7 million. Certainly one factor in this downward trend must be attributed to the global economic downturn. Looking at the overall venture capital investment landscape, this downturn may simply be a reflection of the general decline in vc cash. Technology related industries have seen a particular decline, and virtual goods investments certainly fall into this category. Virtual Goods News’ sister site, Virtual Worlds News is also reporting record lows in venture capital investments. Again, remain calm, and exit the building in an orderly fashion. Oh no, wait. That’s not right. This might not be the most favorable news to come out of the virtual items sales industry, when seen from 30,000 feet up, our swimmers seem right in line with everyone else in the pool. The real question here is – when we start seeing the return to ‘business as usual’, will virtual goods/worlds investments also see this return?

Perhaps most notable in the studies findings is the increase in investments in the mobile payments sector. The largest single investment in the study was won by Boku, receiving $13 million. Boku is a mobile payments start-up that purchased both Paymo and Mobilcash. Competitor OneTXT also scored a cool $2 million, thereby making the segment the clear winner in Q2, netting approximately 40% of all dough invested in the virtual items/goods space. As Virtual Goods News notes, this is particularly noteworthy, as there was no publically disclosed data regarding mobile payments in all of 2008 and Q1 2009.

Perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, the North American market has seen proof in the pudding with microtransactions via virtual goods sales, and is looking to replicate other areas of monetization already found in Europe and areas of Asia? Paying for items via mobile providers is nothing new here in Europe, but I can’t remember a single time/place I’ve been able to do something similar in the US. If this is in fact the case, we could be staging for a rapid change in the way virtual goods are charged, sold, and delivered in North America. The only issue that worries me about this is that Asia and Europe have seen a gradual rollout of these methods, while the US hasn’t. Change is good, but too much change too fast can often be met with backlash. That’s not to say the entire North American market will make a rapid shift back to subscription only options, and the party’s over, but how about we get one method down and understood before we start throwing even more (sometimes confusing to the novice) options at consumers.

Virtual Goods News full list of the 6 companies that received venture capital investments in Q2 2009 can be found here.