Gaming Payments Gets Serious: Tencent Drops $8.6 Billion On Game Firm

Of all of the various payments hotspots that payment facilitators need to focus on, gaming—and all of its in-app potential—may be the one of the most lucrative. Witness Tencent Holdings Ltd., which this week confirmed plans to drop $8.6 billion to buy an 84 percent slice of the Finnish maker of the Clash Of Clans mobile game.

Games generate one payment for the initial purchase—which, for a popular game, is tantalizing enough on its own—and then a potentially unlimited number of follow-on purchases as players purchase new weapons or characters or cheats or various upgrades. Game companies are generally great at creating the games, but they need help facilitating effortless payments within those games. Enter PFs.

The potential dollars with gaming is huge—as we’ve noted before—but it’s the mobilization of games that is generating the excitement. We are entering a world of shared gaming with friends, potentially friends in other countries. Then there is the potential of joint-play with strangers, connected either through a shared interest or even geography, powered with geolocation or geofencing. (“I’m here in Central Park in New York City or sitting at a table in the Mall Of America in Minnesota. Anyone want to play XXXX with me?”) Games can also feature customization such as superimposing the photos or images of people onto their characters.

Every one of those interactions could come with its own ca-ching. (Note: We need a new onomatopoeia term for a cash register sound in a world that rarely has actual cash registers.)
The Tencent move, as Bloomberg noted, is “to gain control of Supercell Oy—the Finnish maker of mobile games including Hay Day, Clash Royale and Boom Beach—from SoftBank Group Corp. To see how that portfolio may fit into Tencent’s emerging entertainment empire, look at how the Chinese company leveraged World of Warcraft and League of Legends into global powerhouses. The company’s QQ and WeChat instant messaging apps have more than a billion users combined, and it could use those apps to promote Supercell games.”

The story also quoted Tencent President Martin Lau saying, “We do see there’s an opportunity for IPs of games and movies and video to cross and splice with each other, in the right way.”
And as those elements of interrelationships between products and services expand, so, too, do the number of payments points.