Posted by: Cliff Edwards on July 26, 2010
One of the biggest trends in the world of video games is microtransactions, which give content providers the ability to sell virtual goods such as clothing and car modifications for anything from a few cents to a few dollars.
New York-based Live Gamer appears to be gaining more traction in this market by handling many of the technical aspects of such transactions. The company announced today a deal to power Electronic Arts’ virtual goods platform. Live Gamer announced earlier this month that it also had signed up game publishers THQ and RealNetworks. Through its partners, it now supports over 83 million users in 23 countries. FInancial terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Traditional game companies have largely sat on the sidelines while watching the rapid rise of social gaming companies such as Zynga, which lets people play for free and then buy virtual goods in a game with real money. EA in November purchased social gaming company Playfish for $275 million in cash and $25 million in equity. EA will pay another $100 million if Playfish meets targets at the end of 2011.
Researcher DFC Intelligence projects the U.S. and European market for virtual items in free-to-play games will grow to more than $3 billion by 2015 from $800 million in 2009. Companies are moving to quickly get into this market by outsourcing the technical aspects of adopting a virtual economy, such as the ability to create and sell the merchandise and track the trading of the virtual goods. Live Gamer lets game companies integrate their service into an in-house e-commerce platform, or work through its own system.