MAKATI, Philippines – May 8, 2012 – Two of the Philippines’ leading online game companies, Level Up! Inc. (LUI) and IP E-Game Ventures Inc. (E-Games), have formally merged their respective online gaming businesses. The union of the two now establishes LUI’s associated game publishing company, Playweb Games Inc. (PWG), as the most dominant publisher in the Philippines, accounting for nearly 80 percent of the Philippine online games market.
The merging of the online game businesses of LUI and E-Games is expected to double the distribution capacity for the already ubiquitous Level Up! pre-paid card. The wider reach and unparalleled availability of the Level Up! pre-paid card has prompted LUI to open up its doors to more payment gateway partners. Due to the low penetration rate of credit cards in the Philippines, pre-paid cards remain to be the preferred mode of payment for Filipino gamers.
“By joining forces with IP E- Games Ventures, Level Up! can now present a more comprehensive online gaming experience to players, which is always our top priority,” said Ben Colayco, founder of Level Up! “This newly merged entity will push our online game business further into the global games market and cement Level Up! as the partner of choice, not only for publishing, but for payment channeling as well.”
With 41 million registered users and 3 million active users playing one or more of the 15 online games in their combined portfolio, seven out of the top 10 online games in the Philippines are now published by PWG. As a result of the merger, coverage of internet cafés enjoyed a significant boost, with regular contact at 7,300 cafés in the country – equivalent to about 138,000 seats. In addition to internet cafés, prepaid card monthly circulation has increased to 500,000 monthly, boasting availability in 833 convenience stores and 260 card kiosks in major malls.
“This merger is a real industry game-changer,” said Enrique Gonzalez, CEO, IP E-Games Ventures Inc. “I am extremely pleased with this new partnership, and I believe the newly merged entity can accelerate the growth of the online games space through the introduction of more content, and providing gamers with a more diverse offering.”
For more information, contact Kamesh Forbes, Level Up! Inc. Business Development Manager.
About Level Up! Inc.
LUI pioneered the online game business in the Philippines. Its parent company, Level Up! International Holdings (LUIH) also has a subsidiary in Brazil, Level Up! Interactive S.A. (LUISA), the biggest online games operator there. LUIH has a joint venture in the United States with KOG, an established Korean developer, where they publish Elsword for North America.
In the Philippines, LUI has been a trailblazer in the industry with Philippines firsts: Ragnarok, the first and still the biggest MMORPG in the country, Grand Chase, the first action-RPG game, and Crazy Kart, the first MMO racing game. Aside from leadership in content selection, LUI boasts the widest internet café coverage and the best prepaid card reach among any local or regional publisher in the Philippines.
About IP E-Game Ventures Inc.
E-Games is the first listed online gaming company in the Philippines (PSE: EG) and is the only such listed company to date. It spearheaded the free-to-play game model with RAN Online and aggressively expanded its Internet café network through acquisitions (Netopia and CyBr cafes) and franchising. Recently, E-Games has also acquired the rights to operate and sell advertisements for the NBA.com Philippine portal. It is currently developing game enhancement technologies between its Internet cafes and online games titles and is eager to extend these synergies with LUI online games.