The Latest News on the Social Games Market in Europe and Emerging Markets


GREE Announces Alliance with PayPal

By Sebastian Sujka

GREE and PayPal announced that they have agreed on a strategic business alliance. PayPal will now be a payment option for up to 150 million registered gamers on social networking service (SNS) GREE worldwide. GREE’s users will be able to use PayPal to buy GREE’s virtual currency, “coins”, which can be used to play and make purchases in over 7,500 games for Android and iOS smartphones. As the first step of the strategic business alliance, PayPal becomes available on SNS GREE for Japanese smartphones from December 14th, 2011. PayPal’s global payment service will be gradually introduced to GREE’s mobile social gaming platform, GREE Platform, in North America and other countries in the future.

Rupert Keeley, PayPal’s Senior Vice President of Asia Pacific, said, “We are delighted to have established this strategic business alliance with GREE, the leading mobile SNS in Japan, as it encompasses three major payment trends we are driving today — mobile, social and digital..”

Through this alliance, GREE will offer PayPal to its customers as it rolls out its new worldwide mobile social gaming platform, GREE Platform, to expand its business overseas.

PayPal, on the other hand, aims to expand its user base in Japan by integrating its faster, safer digital wallet on Japan’s leading mobile social network. According to a recent PayPal survey on online shopping behavior, 52% of Japanese mobile shoppers said “the mobile screen size is too small” and 25% of Japanese mobile shoppers said “the mobile transaction is not safe enough”, highlighting convenience and security as key areas to improve for mobile commerce in Japan.


Guest Post: Representation of Industry Interests

By Sebastian Sujka

[Editor's note: When it comes to payment the industry landscape is highly intransparent. The payment landscape is already very intransparent as it is, but regulations that directly or indirectly effect the industry are making the situation even worse. In his guest post, Atlas Interactive CEO and DTVM Board Member Marco Priewe explains how the dialogue between industry and government works, who is participating in it and how you can participate or gain advantages out of it.]

The association and the mission
In Germany, the association to represent interests of payment, gaming and media is the DTVM.  DVTM stands for Deutscher Verband für Telekommunikation und Medien – German Association for Telecommunications and Media. The DVTM represents all companies involved in the value-added chain of telecommunications and media: service companies, network operators, service providers, resellers, technical service companies, media and publishing companies as well as consulting companies and collection agencies. The aims are protection and expansion of the functioning, innovative and competitive telecommunication and media market in collaboration with the market participants.

Marco Priewe, DVTM Board Member and Atlas Interactive CEO

Members of the association operate voluntarily for the purpose of the Code of Conduct (Germany) for Telecommunication and Media, released by DVTM. The Code of Conduct phrases standards of telecommunication and media branches and authorizes to help shaping the market.  DVTM has about 50 members including ATLAS interactive, BT (Germany), Buongiorno, Cellfish Media, Colt, digame mobile, dtms, IN-telegence, mr. next id, net mobile, RTL interactive, Venista, ZED and Siemens Enterprise Communications.

A past example of DVTM action: handshake sms regulation
There are several examples how the DVTM influences the daily landscape of gaming transaction. For example, when the telecommunication act (TKG) amendment was politically discussed some years ago, the VZBV (Federation of German Consumer Organizations) argued to have a compulsory handshake for premium SMS transaction exceeding EUR 1.00 in the amended TKG. The DVTM was the only organization that argued against this and demanded from the legislative authority to have the limited set at EUR 3.00 only. The DVTM succeeded in finally convincing the legislative to set the handshake requirement at EUR 2.00.

Today, most gaming portals using methods of mobile payment use the end user tariff of EUR 1.99 / SMS. Meaning, the end user sends a text message at a price of EUR 1.99 and by just sending this message the payment is made. Without the engagement of the DVTM the TKG would have required a hand-shake procedure. In that case the end-user, wanting to pay EUR 1.99, would have to send a text message and in return receive a SMS-MT message, informing the end user about the price and asking him to confirm the message by sending a second text message. In that case payment would only be made if the user sends this second SMS-MO.

No need to say, that this complicated hand-shake process would have a disastrous effect on the conversion rate. Most likely, gaming portals would then chose to only charge EUR 0.99 per transaction (without hand-shake requirement). Just because of the engagement of the DVTM this initiative by the VZBV was averted. This example shows how important it is that industry members engage themselves in the DVTM, as it is more likely that the DVTM is heard by the legislative instead of individual voices.

A current case: standardized mobile payment window
One of the biggest issues today revolves around regulation of mobile payment windows. The German mobile network operators have announced that a standardized payment window will be introduced in January 2012. Today, an end user that wants to initiate a payment through WEB billing is provided with a payment window by the merchant or the payment provider, e.g. ATLAS Interactive. As of 2012 this will no more be possible. All merchants using WEB billing will have to use a standardized payment window that is designed and issue by the mobile network operator. So the payment window will have a completely different look and branding. Sure, this new regulation will eliminate fraudulent applications that e.g. hide the obligatory price information in a scroll-down menu.

On the other hand we fear that the new payment window will have a negative effect on the conversation rate of end users’ payment. We are, hence, opposed to this regulation that may have negative effect on the business case of gaming portals. The DVTM will try to intervene and start the dialogue with the mobile network operators. They need to understand that they have easier possibilities to eliminate fraudulent applications. We do not see a need to put the entire industry using mobile payments at a threat. Any game publisher or distributor may join the DVTM to help us in this initiative.

Benefits for small companies
Most of the companies do not have a big legal department, for them it is interesting to have contact person at DVTM. They can get regular as well as individual information about legislation and regulation and can place their own themes. At the same time they can benefit from the communication inside the association and with other members. But also companies with a quite big legal department are not that close to new legislation and the regulatory bodies as the DVTM. To influence the legal framework, there is a lot of lobby work to be done. It is of existential importance that the interests of companies have a strong and active representation.

Balance of interests
As Managing Director of Atlas Interactive I have a profound knowledge of the market, but as well of legislative and regulative obstacles and challenges. Together with other executives we try to find a good balance between the interests of consumers, politics and economy. The German Code for Telecommunication and Media (issued by the DVTM) is the best example to proof, that the economy accepts responsibility for consumer protection. The code of conduct, direct information at first hand and the communication with other members of the DVTM is the reason why we have been an active member of the DVTM for more than 10 years.

Join the club
It is not sufficient to sit and let others do the job – engagement including political engagement is the key. We, therefore would highly appreciate if other market players, especially from the gaming industry, would join the DVTM. In a rather small association they can be sure that they will be heard and that they can place their themes. I am convinced that the DVTM will succeed in representing the interest of the gaming industry and could, hence, avoid contra productive legal regulation. Anyone interested in this, may feel free to call me to discuss opportunities.


Guest Post: Top 5 Mistakes in Online Game Payments

By Sebastian Sujka

With so many payment options, it can get quite confusing trying to decide what’s best for your online game whether you are just starting out, or indeed well established in your field. Shopping carts, localization, security and online payments; these are some of the important things you will be thinking about when considering what’s best for your online business. With the help of Gate2Shop we present a top 5 list of common mistakes made by online game developers that don’t have the optimal e-commerce solution for their exact needs:

1. Website not localized
Quite often, we see online businesses that want to sell globally – whether it is software, games or other virtual goods. They invariably hit a brick wall if their site isn’t optimized for all the regions they are targeting; hard to sell in Spain when your site doesn’t include Spanish!  It’s important that your provider can work with you on these types of customizations.

Local payment methods not comprehensive
Another problem that is often seen with poor localization is when payment methods that are popular in a particular region aren’t accepted.  For example, AstroPay Card is a very popular virtual pre-paid card in Brazil. Boleto is also a payment option widely popular in Brazil. So, not offering those payment methods if you want to sell in Brazil is pretty much guaranteed to give poor returns in that region.

3. Cumbersome checkout process
Too many clicks. Too many pages. Too much redirection. This is the part where you hope the customer actually parts with their hard earned cash, so it’s very important to keep them in the frame of mind that they are happy to spend their money.  If not, the customer will just get fed up with the process and walk away. Your payment pages must be optimized for speed, ease of use – and security.  You should also be looking for ways to have the player pay without the need to leave the game; payment should be placed right inside the game for speed and convenience.

4. Security settings
Poorly configured security settings can lead to all sorts of problems with the processing of payments.  Perhaps one of the most severe is to be placed on a blacklist which would prevent use of a credit card without intervention from the issuing bank. You should also be looking for payment pages that have been secured with extended validation SSL certificates. You’ll know them by the green notice in your browser’s address bar. Your e-commerce provider should have technology to spot and prevent fraud – and have a proficient risk management team.

5. No provisions to counteract declines
It’s very important to have a system in place that can monitor and act on declined or failed transactions.  Far too often, just one failed transaction means the customer walks away from an online store for good or will not retry to buy virtual goods. It’s best if your e-commerce provider has a dedicated team dedicated to quickly resolving failed transactions due to bank declines. Not only does it impact the sale, but it can cause a customer to walk away for good – and it’s well known customer loyalty is an important part to the success of any business.

About Gate2Shop
is a provider of e-commerce solutions specifically designed for the software, games and digital service industries. The Gate2shop solution gives vendors a complete e-commerce platform to market and sell their products online, including Risk Management, Affiliation, Fraud Prevention and Payment Processing. Gate2Shop has a decade of experience in the e-commerce industry and provides over 85 local, international and alternative payment methods, in more than 160 countries.


Wrap Up: This Week on PaymentObserver

By Sebastian Sujka

The Latest News, Industry Insights and Research Findings on Global Payment Markets:

Friday, November 25th 2011

Starbucks to Launch Mobile Payment App in UK

Thursday, November 24th 2011

VocaLink Partners With Clear2Pay & Fundtech to Offer Real-time Payment Services

Wednesday, November 23th 2011

Visa And MTN to Launch Mobile Prepaid Payment Service in Africa

Tuesday, November 22th 2011

PayPal Launches Send Money Facebook App

Monday, November 21th 2011

Google Merges Checkout And Wallet Into One Payment Platform


Wrap Up: This Week on PaymentObserver

By Sebastian Sujka

The Latest News, Industry Insights and Research Findings on Global Payment Markets:

Friday, November 11th 2011

Nokia And PayMate to Provide Mobile NFC Payments in India

Thursday, November 10th 2011

PayPal Releases a New Version of its Android App Featuring NFC P2P Payments

Wednesday, November 9th 2011

Interview With Georg Schardt of Payment Network AG on The Release of Rechnung by Sofort

Tuesday, November 8th 2011

Mopay Upgrades its Mobile Payment Platform to Provide HTML5 Features

Monday, November 7th 2011

Intuit and AT&T Collaborate to Offer Mobile Credit Card Processing to Small Businesses


Wrap Up: This Week on PaymentObserver

By Sebastian Sujka

The Latest News, Industry Insights and Research Findings on Global Payment Markets:

Friday, November 4th 2011

Virtual Piggy And Xsolla Team Up to Provide a Online Payment Service For The Youth Market

Thursday, November 3th 2011

HP to Launch Mobile POS Tablet Solution

Square Updates Mobile Payment App – Now You Can Pay With Your Name

Wednesday, October 2th 2011

VeriFone buys Global Bay to Expand Mobile Payment Strategy

Monday, October 31th 2011

Visa Europe Invests £24.7 Million in Mobile Banking Company Monitise

New Mobile Payment Solution Available in the Netherlands


Wrap Up: This Week on PaymentObserver

By Sebastian Sujka

The Latest News, Industry Insights and Research Findings on Global Payment Markets:

Friday, October 28th 2011

Mobile Banking App Usage in the U.S. Increases 45 Percent from Q4 2010 says comScore Analysis

Pygg Lauched Social Payment App For Twitter

Thursday, October 27th 2011

NFC-enabled BlackBerry Phones Get MasterCard PayPass Certificate

Wednesday, October 26th 2011

Fortumo Releases Mobile Payment Service for HTML5 Apps

Tuesday, October 25th 2011

Facebook to Expand the Reach of Its Virtual Currency: Facebook Credits for Websites

Commonwealth Bank Launched NFC Mobile Payment Service in Australia

Monday, October 24th 2011

GAME Group And InComm Launched Digital Wallet Service For Online Gamers

Square’s Card Reader Available In Walmart


Wrap Up: This Week on PaymentObserver

By Sebastian Sujka

The Latest News, Industry Insights and Research Findings on Global Payment Markets:

Friday, October 21th 2011

Mobile Payments for Physical Goods to Exceed $170B by 2015 Says Research Report by Juniper

Paytoo Expands Its Presence in Latin America

Thursday, October 20th 2011

Ericsson launches In-App Payment Service

Earthport to Extend Cross-Border Payment Services

Wednesday, October 19th 2011

eBay Expects $3.5B Mobile Payments via PayPal

iZettle Raises €8.2 Million for Mobile Payment Service

Tuesday, October 18th 2011

Billpay Expands to Austria

Google Wallet Update Adds SingleTap Offer Feature

Monday, October 17th 2011

Citigroup Expands Its WorldLink Payment Service

Wirecard Offers Jumio’s Netswipe Technology


Wrap Up: This Week on PaymentObserver

By Gary Merrett

The Latest News, Industry Insights and Research Findings on Global Payment Markets:

Friday, October 14th 2011

SCVNGR Rolls Out Mobile Payment and Loyalty Service “LevelUp”

Thursday, October 13th 2011

Interview on E-payment Trends with Johannes F. Sutter from Saferpay

Paytoo Teams Up with Paymentez to Enter the Social Games Market

Wednesday, October 12th 2011

NCR, S1 and PayPal to Offer Person-to-Person Payments via ATMs

CSI Launches Virtual MasterCard App for iOS and BlackBerry

Tuesday, October 11th 2011

Adyen and cashU Team Up to Expand Presence in Middle East and North Africa

Hungary’s Mobile Providers Team Up to Promote NFC Mobile Payment

Monday, October 10th 2011

PayU Enters Indian Market


This Week on PaymentObserver

By Gary Merrett

The Latest News, Industry Insights and Research Findings on Global Payment Markets:

Friday, October 7th 2011

America First Credit Union Expands Mobile Banking With Fiserv

The Logic Group Teams Up With PayPal

Thurstday, October 6th 2011

Mobile Services Have Turned Into a ‘Must-Have’ Channel for Banks Says Javelin Research Report

PayPal Will Open a Store in New York to Introduce New Payment Services

Wednesday, October 5th 2011

Strategic Alliance Between Wirecard and RatePAY

Mpass Launches Mobile Ticket Service to Access Berlin’s Pergamon Museum

Tuesday, October 4th 2011

ConCardis Cooperates With RatePAY

New NFC Specification Simplifies Peer-to-Peer Communication