PlaySpan: Shop & Trade While You Play

Date:   Monday , November 03, 2008

The PlaySpan platform for online games enables in-game search, commerce, and communication. These are features that make PlaySpan an essential part of the Gaming 3.0 landscape.
Says Karl Mehta, Co-Founder and CEO, of PlaySpan, “Gaming 1.0 was characterized by unconnected consoles while Gaming 2.0 saw gaming consoles like X-Box and Playstation being connected to the internet.” Gaming 3.0 is characterized by large virtual economies inside games and virtual worlds. In effect, PlaySpan addresses a virtual goods transaction market worth “well over $2 billion”, Mehta told this magazine last year.

Over a year down the line, some proof is at hand. Ultimate Game Card, a prepaid gift card developed and supported by PayByCash, a PlaySpan subsidiary, has become PayByCash’s top payment method in the United States. In what is a pointer to the future of the gaming space that PlaySpan operates in, many merchants are taking advantage of co-branding the card. On October 20 this year, former Sony PlayStation Europe CEO, Chris Deering joined the PlaySpan advisory board, providing further proof that its achievements are no flash in the pan. “The PlaySpan microtransaction platform delivers the next big revenue stream to game publishers based on in-game commerce and complements subscription and advertising revenue streams,” said Deering.

PlaySpan has the backing of investors like Easton Capital, Menlo Ventures, STIC and Novel TMT Ventures. For publishers, using PlaySpan’s platform proves beneficial in attracting and retaining new gamers, those who wish to transact, make money, and connect with friends in the virtual world. PlaySpan then earns royalties on each transaction, creating a viable long-term business model.

Unlike many businesses, PlaySpan may actually benefit from a down-turn in the economy. Entertainment tends to remain a popular outlet for consumers even in bad times. And points out PayByCash President Kevin Higgins, “As credit markets tighten and consumers pull back on credit card use in a troubled economy, Ultimate Game Card continues to grow in use. It’s as instant as a credit card, accessible and easy to use.”