Today the payment services firm Social Gold announced that its Social Gold for Flash in-app payments system would become an integral part of the GamerSafe Flash gaming platform. The GamerSafe network allows developers of approved games to easily add support for virtual goods, achievements, and online saves to their pre-existing Flash games.
"We are always looking for great partners who work with game developers, and especially in the case of GamerSafe, they provide a good ecosystem for game developers," said Vikas Gupta, CEO of Social Gold. "They pay as much attention to the quality of the games and quality of the user experience as we do."
While GamerSafe evaluates over 500 games submitted by over 10,000 Flash developers every month, only a handful are chosen for publication on the GamerSafe platform each month. Gupta says that the Social Gold for Flash API will be available to all GamerSafe developers, though, making it possible for Social Gold for Flash to reach out to these developers on an individual basis.
GamerSafe currently features only a handful of games with in-game microtransactions, but Gupta believes this number will increase now that developers have access to the Social Gold for Flash API. In other implementations Gupta reports that the Social Gold for Flash product has performed phenomenally well in games that featured it, on average doubling both ARPU and conversion rates.
"When we first came out in the market with this platform, the market was mostly non-Flash games, especially on social gaming sites," said Gupta. "Now you're seeing a huge number of games being built in Flash. So the Flash product is doing very, very well."
Gupta says that a 30% to 40% lift in overall revenue is typical for a developer after integrating Social Gold for Flash, a rate that is higher than Social Gold's performance in non-Flash games with its standard product. He also says that, typically, users engage longer with games after a Social Gold for Flash implementation, and that the total lifetime of that user grows longer.
Social Payments and Social Networks
With Flash growing increasingly popular as a format for developing social games, Gupta says that Social Gold for Flash is powering payments in games on social networks already. He believes that developers are increasingly turning to Flash so they can port their game across a variety of platforms more quickly, including numerous social networks and online portals.
What Social Gold isn't seeing on social networks is negative impact from the broadening beta tests of Facebook Credits. Gupta believes this is because purchasing virtual goods through Credits is not yet a single-click process. Users making impulse purchases of virtual items will find any one-click purchase method, even one using a credit card number, preferable.
This is consistent with some other developer reports that claim Credits have actually caused them to lose revenue, due to Facebook's 30% cut of the transactions. That said, Gupta believes Credits will be an overall positive addition to the Facebook social gaming scene. He believes Credits will get more users comfortable with buying virtual goods in social games, driving overall lifts in revenue for every player in the system.
Gupta says that Social Gold is on track to become profitable in 2010. The company's revenue grew a whopping 2000% in 2009, fueled by the social gaming boom on Facebook and other networks. Gupta expects future growth and does not expect Social Gold to seek investment in the upcoming year, though he also doesn't rule out the possibility.
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