Mentez, the leading social games publisher in Latin America, today announced they have further expanded their presence in Latin America with the launch of their first localized game in Spanish, Guerra Maya (Chinese developer Five Minutes’ Little War), for the Spanish version of Facebook. This is the first of a lineup of current games on Orkut that Mentez will be localizing. “Spanish-speaking Facebook Latin America has over 80 million users; this area is another huge market for us to play in,” said Mentez CEO Juan Franco. “The issuing of our first localized game for Spanish-speaking audiences is a great opportunity, since no other company currently does this in the region.”
In addition to the launch of the Spanish version of Little War, Mentez will be opening a new office in Mexico that will help focus the company’s efforts in Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America. Now with offices both in Mexico and Colombia and presence in Argentina and Chile, Mentez has the capability to reach over two-thirds of the Spanish-speaking Latin America population on Facebook. According to a recent report by Playspan and SuperData Research, the virtual goods market in this region alone (excluding Brazil) currently is valued at $165.5 million. With Mentez’s proprietary monetization platform Paymentez, Latin American users can easily pay for virtual goods locally using local credit cards online, through bank transfers, and in person with cash at pharmacies, newsstands and Internet cafes. Recently, Zynga selected Mentez to sell Zynga Game Cards and PINS across the Paymentez network, which stretches from Mexico to Argentina.
Per capita credit card usage in Latin America remains low compared to North America, according to a March 2008 report from the International Trade Administration. The report estimates that Latin American countries like Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil have fewer than 1 credit card in circulation per person. That compares to more than 2.5 credit cards per person in the U.S. Localized items for Guerra Maya include pyramids and sites from the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, animals sacred to the Mayas like the quetzal, and the local agave plant as decorations. Currently, Mentez has over 11 million MAU on Facebook Spanish alone and expects this number to grow. The Mexico office located in Mexico City will house Mentez’s Latin America team and joins Mentez’s other global offices in Brazil, Colombia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.