Credit card giant Visa has acquired the online payment services provider PlaySpan for $190 million in cash, with additional payouts possible if PlaySpan hits certain performance milestones in the future. Visa plans to use PlaySpan to help capitalize on the growing digital goods business, which generated $25 billion in consumer spending last year and is expected to reach $280 billion by 2014. Visa began preparing for entry into the digital goods market last year, with the launch of its PayPal-alternative PayClick.
PlaySpan launched four years ago and is based in Santa Clara, California. In that time it raised a total of $46 million in funding. PlaySpan’s founder is technically teenaged Arjun Mehta, but the company is actually run by his father, CEO Karl Mehta. PlaySpan has grown rapidly over the past two years, forming partnerships with Nexon America, Ubisoft, and Facebook. PlaySpan’s current flagship product is its UltimatePay payment services suite, which PlaySpan offers as a highly secure “Monetization as a Service” platform suitable for integration into apps, online games, and digital goods.
UltimatePay bundles 85 different global payment methods together, making it a very efficient way to monetize an international audience. PlaySpan also recently launched a mobile version of UltimatePay for Android that offers the same variety of payment options, but allows users to make one-click purchases. PlaySpan is also the publisher of the Ultimate Game Card, a prepaid virtual currency card that players can redeem in dozens of different online games. PlaySpan says it now powers over 1000 virtual goods marketplaces in virtual worlds, social games, and freemium online games.
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