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Visa Buys PlaySpan

  • The international card scheme Visa acquired PlaySpan, the Californian payment specialist for virtual reality contents. This e-PSP is in charge of converting the virtual currencies issued by interactive websites into real money. It also monetizes credits for gaming websites, access to premium memberships and exchanges of virtual goods. PlaySpan was created in 2006 by a twelve-year old teenager and developed the notion of MaaS (“Monetisation-as-a-Service”). Its platform includes 85 means of payment and is accessible through applications.
  • On the worldwide e-commerce market valorised by JPMorgan at 948 billion dollars (or slightly less than 700 billion euros), the exchange of digital goods represents 25 billion dollars, around 18 billion euros. According to Forrester, these exchanges should represent 280 billion dollars by 2014 (about 205 billion euros).
  • This new purchase enables Visa to outstrip MasterCard. In addition to CyberSource’s more generic know-how, it now benefits from skills in the specific field of virtual goods. CyberSource was bought in spring 2010, and, so far, its rival MasterCard has only acquired the British DataCash last August.
  • The French market could provide meaningful opportunities. It includes renowned companies in virtual monetisation, which may compare to PlaySpan: for instance, the “Payments” division of Hi-Media (digital money issuer and operator of the Allopass e-payment solution), the recently authorised Payment Institution Rentabiliweb, or even AdThink.
See new DIBS survey in this issue and January 2011 Watch