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Live Gamer, a provider of micro-transaction-based e-commerce solutions for online games, social networks, and virtual worlds, announced today that it has acquired Twofish, a company that provides virtual economy analytics and data solutions for casual games and social application developers.
Twofish is the second acquisition for Live Gamer this summer. In July, Live Gamer announced the acquisition of Korean mictrotransactions company N-Cash. According to Live Gamer, these two acquisitions put the company in a position to provide the first global, end-to-end solution for the microtransaction industry.
“What’s exciting for developers and publishers, whether they’re a hardcore MMO company or a casual company or a social developer, is the ability to harness the power of microtransactions and virtual economies to drive their business forward, either as the primary business model, or supplemented with advertising,” Live Gamer Co-Founder and President Andy Schneider told Gamezebo.
While the micro-transaction model has been extremely popular in Asia for several years with companies like Shanda and Nexon, the model is only starting to be adopted in the west.
“The tools [for enabling micro-transactions] really haven’t been available until now to enable publishers to quickly and easily get up and running,” said Schneider, “and that’s what we’re aiming to do with our N-Cash and Twofish acquisition: To offer developer, publishers and operators of social games, MMOs, hardcore games, and virtual worlds, the tools to enable a virtual economy quickly and easily, and a full solution from the virtual currency economy creation to payment gateway, aggregation to anti-fraud tools, to inventory and catalogue management, even up to the storefront layer. Anybody who wants to enable this business model now has a way to do that.”
Live Gamer was co-founded in 2007 by Schneider and Mitch Davis. The company initially addressed player trading within massively-multiplayer online games by offering solutions that deterred black market trading while providing legitimate and sanctioned marketplaces for players to buy and sell virtual items. The company counts among its clients some of the biggest online game publishers in the world, including Sony Online Entertainment, Funcom, Acclaim, and GoPets.
Live Gamer has since turned its attention to developing a turnkey solution for publishers to offer virtual currency systems and direct to consumer sales, which lead to the acquisitions of N-Cash and Twofish.
“Twofish has been very heavy in the analytics with social, casual type game developers,” said Twofish President Lisa Rutherford, “but the platform was originally developed for large-scale MMOs, and for us to now be moving back into that market and to be able to leverage Live Gamer’s amazing reputation and relationship, and the total commerce solution when you take the best from Live Gamer, Twofish and N-Cash, it’s incredibly powerful. It’s going to be amazing to see not just the services we put out but how the games industry can continue to innovate even further with these types of tools.”
“In social space, there has been a huge boom in microtransactions. Companies like Zynga, Playfish, Playdom are getting to a point where they need a different level of sophistication, scalability and security, and that’s where the social category can take a cue from what has been so successful in the hardcore game category for so many years in Asia,” said Rutherford. “What we’re excited about is that Twofish’s technology and team has been focusing on this vertical for quite some time, know the space really well, have amazing domain expertise and tools to help us expand from what we know in hardcore games to new verticals that are casual and social.”
Bill Grosso, CTO of Twofish, will become the CTO of Live Gamer, overseeing the company’s product roadmap and platform development. The engineering team will be run out of Twofish’s Palo Alto, California office, which will add to the company’s New York headquarters and offices in Los Angeles and Korea.
Two current Twofish Board members, Michael Kim from Rustic Canyon Ventures and Twofish co-founder Sean Ryan, will join the Live Gamer Board of Directors.