Live Gamer acquires N-Cash – towards integrating primary and secondary markets?

Live Gamer announced the acquisition of Korean virtual good sales facilitator N-Cash. The acquisition expands Live Gamer’s current service repertoire from secondary market targeted v-commerce solutions to facilitating both primary and secondary markets of virtual goods.

As separated these two service elements might not provide anything new. But the possibilities provided by integrating primary and secondary markets under a single platform are highly interesting. What kind of integration strategies would work under which kinds business models and service design? How integrated markets would affect the internal economies of MMO’s? What new revenue streams can be harnessed?

Press release below.

 


 

Live Gamer Acquires N-Cash, Korea’s Premier Micro-Transaction Provider

Acquisition Capitalizes on Global Trend Toward Micro-Transaction-Based Business Models; Brings Asia’s First Micro-Transaction Platform to the U.S.

NEW YORK, (July 29, 2009) – Live Gamer (www.livegamer.com), the company that pioneered publisher-supported real-money-trading for online games, today announced it has completed its acquisition of N-Cash (www.n-cash.net), Korea’s premier micro-transaction provider.

With the acquisition, Live Gamer will add N-Cash’s global publisher-to-player micro-transaction platform, expanding its offering into a fully featured, e-commerce solution with multiple integration options for game operators.  Publishers will be able to turn to one partner – instead of many – to roll out secure micro-transaction-based marketplaces, drive ARPU (average revenue per user), improve conversion rates, and enable sanctioned player-to-player trading while maintaining a great user experience.

“Asian game operators have proven for nearly a decade that publishers can create thriving micro-transaction-based experiences while generating greater revenue opportunities.  Today, that market is over $4 billion strong and growing at nearly 30 percent per year.  With N-Cash, we’ve acquired a secure, scalable and proven commerce platform which has completed 150 million micro-transactions and is currently handling 56 million registered users,” said Mitchell Davis, Live Gamer Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder.  “Our publishing partners want one comprehensive, yet modular, platform.  With this acquisition, we will be able to deliver just that.”

N-Cash President David Seo added, “This acquisition brings together two best-in-class players – each with a global track record of success.  In less than a decade, we’ve earned a reputation as one of the world’s most tested and secure micro-transaction engines available today.  We’ve integrated into more than 100 games across five continents with a battle tested software solution that easily scales as our partners grow.”

"The success of the virtual goods and micro-transaction market in Asia clearly shows this is the wave of the future," said David Cole, lead analyst at research firm DFC Intelligence.  "The virtual goods model both increases product usage and is highly profitable for publishers.  One of the most important growth areas we have identified is for companies that can expand the Asian business model on a global basis."

Under the terms of the deal, N-Cash’s Seo will continue as President of N-Cash.  In this role, Seo will work closely with former Microsoft Korea vet Joon Seog Park, who moves into the role of CEO of N-Cash to further expand the company’s presence in the region.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

Live Gamer: Total Commerce Solution
With the N-Cash acquisition, Live Gamer will now add publisher-to-player transaction capabilities to its existing player-to-player offering.  These seamless primary and secondary market engines leverage a full e-commerce platform featuring virtual item SKU management; e-wallet and billing; global payment gateway integration; anti-fraud; and analytics and reporting.  This complete yet modular technology stack creates one of the first market-proven total commerce solutions for online games, virtual worlds, social networks, and other virtual environments and allows operators the ultimate flexibility in choosing the right elements for their particular needs.  Live Gamer works closely with publishers to drive ARPU and improve conversion rates while maintaining a great user experience.

"For 6 years, N-Cash has been successfully handling our growing volume of micro-transactions with care and reliability,” said Kevin Kim, chief executive officer, GamesCampus, OnNet USA.

About N-Cash
Micro-transaction-based games began in South Korea almost a decade ago, and N-Cash’s platform was there to power the very first item-based game ever in existence (Joyon’s GerSang).  Since 2001, N-Cash has continued to develop and scale its solution to power titles from over 60 game operators worldwide.  N-Cash, which prior to the acquisition was backed by Samsung Venture Investment Corp., JEI Co., Samsung Capital and AP Venture, has integrated in more than 100 titles, aggregated over 200 payment service providers and become the leader in online game micro-transaction billing.

About Live Gamer
Live Gamer combines leading e-commerce software with virtual economy advisory services to help online game publishers, virtual world operators, and operators of other virtual environments, like social networks, create new transaction-based revenue streams.  Founded in 2007, Live Gamer began legitimizing the estimated $2 billion player-to-player market for virtual goods with its Live Gamer™ Exchange, adopted by leading game publishers including Acclaim, Funcom, GoPets, NHN USA, IAC’s InstantAction and Sony Online Entertainment, among others.  With the acquisition of Korea’s N-Cash, Live Gamer now offers a total commerce solution to power any transaction-based business model.  Based in New York, the company is led by pioneers in both the gaming and digital entertainment industries and is backed by $24 million in venture funding from Charles River Ventures, Kodiak Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital.  For more information, visit http://www.livegamer.com or connect with us on Twitter (@livegamer), Facebook or MySpace.

To view the social media version of this release, visit http://pitch.pe/19355.

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