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Free To Play Games, Meet The Virtual IOU
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Free To Play Games, Meet The Virtual IOU

March 16, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

Kwedit's Shader looks forward to more publishers joining the system with additional games. With increased participation, the Kwedit score becomes more significant; a gamer whose score dips because they didn't repay a promise on one game will find themselves unable to get additional credit on any of the games in the system. Therefore, the more publishers adopt the program, the more weight a Kwedit Promise will carry.

At the same time, publishers have other payment options in addition to Kwedit Promises, currently the most popular being the pre-paid game card. In existence for four years now, it has proven itself to be a good alternative to credit cards. Three Rings utilizes such a card -- as does Nexon America, widely considered to be one of the concept's innovators with its Nexon Game Card.

"The pre-paid game card fits very well with our audience, most of whom are teens and college students, who don't own credit cards," explains Min Kim, VP at Nexon America.

Their card, which can be used for such games as MapleStory, Mabinogi, and Combat Arms, is currently sold at 40,000 locations nationwide of such retailers as 7-Eleven, Toys 'R' Us, Blockbuster, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, and Duane Reed.

But what Nexon America hasn't built, Kim admits, is "the functionality to extend credit, which is the biggest weakness of the pre-paid card.

"If a gamer gets the urge to play one of our games in the middle of the night but they don't have a pre-paid card and they can't go out to the store to buy one, there's no way for them to spend anything with us -- even if we know they're good for it because they have a really stellar purchasing history and shell out $25 or $50 a month with us."

For that reason, Nexon America says it has been evaluating for over six months now the idea of extending credit based on a credit score -- a plan that sounds a lot like what Kwedit is doing.

"These are just ideas that are going back and forth inside the office and haven't seen functionality," says Kim, "mainly because we've been evaluating a couple of different initiatives, and everything seems to be a priority these days."

Despite the fact that Kwedit has beaten Nexon America to the "credit punch," Kim recalls that his reaction to the Kwedit Promise program was that he "thought it was pretty cool mainly because it allows publishers to create impulse buys while people are online, so it should work for a lot of companies, especially those without game cards. I mean, if you look at the retail space for pre-paid cards, there's not a lot of room for everyone.

"But because we have such a great relationship already with all the retailers who carry our pre-paid cards, I'm not so sure there's as much value for us," he adds. "If we adopt a credit program, it will be for people who want to transact when they can't, just to tide them over until they can get to the store the next day to buy a game card."

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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