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Visa Pushes Deeper Into Virtual Goods Arena With PlaySpan Acquisition

Visa plans to acquire PlaySpan, a privately-held company with a payments platform that handles transactions for digital goods in online games, digital media and social networks.

PlaySpan's Monetization-as-a-Service platform gives merchants a suite of payment and commerce-related tools, including fraud and risk management, analytics, merchandizing and global payment connectivity. The company already has posted 25% year-over-year growth in its ecommerce payment volumes for its first fiscal quarter in 2011. With global ecommerce sales reaching an estimated $948 billion - of which approximately 45% takes place on Visa’s network - the company apparently wants an even bigger piece. PlaySpan generated an estimated $25 billion in consumer spending globally in 2010, a figure expected to reach $280 billion by 2014.

Taking on Facebook

Visa and PlaySpan, however, must content with Facebook, which recently signaled its intend to step up its presence in this very lucrative space. The company recently told game developers they had to use its virtual currency, Facebook Credits. At the same time, other developments suggest Facebook may have even more grandiose plans for its virtual currency.

"Facebook is using the gaming market to develop the next generation of banking and financial services," said Andy Abramson, CEO of Comunicano. It is positioning itself to become a financial services company or a metamediary between insurance companies, banks, auction markets and PayPal-like services, he said (via the E-Commerce Times).

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