Credit card company American Express has acquired game payment solution specialist Sometrics for $30 million, with the aim of integrating the service into its own Amex Serve system, which allows customers to fund several different payment methods from a single bank account.
Sometrics currently operates in-game payment systems for clients including BigPoint, Nexon, PopCap and OMGPOP, as well as running GameCoins, a combined virtual payments system and game discovery portal with gamification and social elements woven in.
The company also offers members targeted deals based on location, demographic and harvested social data. A feedback system for developers allows them to access data on the success of various reward programs, payments methods and metrics.
So far, Sometrics has vended 3.3 trillion virtual currency units to customers in four years and boasts of an average 15 per cent profit lift for gaming companies using its service.
By integrating the service into Amex Serve, American Express will allow customers to purchase virtual currencies for several games from their accounts and should be part of a continuing process of moving into the virtual payments market.
A close eye will likely be kept on rival Visa, which has recently acquired virtual goods payment solution provider PlaySpan and mobile payments provider Fundamo.