LGC: Payment & Virtual Items

With credit card spending set to decline by another 2.7 per cent at the end of 2010 and worldwide economies still sluggish, everyone is looking for a good news story.

Fortunately, InComm has one. We were the first to launch digital content gaming cards with top tier gaming brands, and today the category includes 85 leading brands and has experienced 200 per cent year-on-year growth – the sort of product that both gaming brands and retailers need to prosper.

These cards offer developers and publishers the opportunity to monetise a game and bring it to life in a retail channel, introducing it to a wider audience and allowing the physical card to become a customer acquisition tool. At the same time, the cards can allow players the freedom to access special content or purchase virtual items for their favourite games, providing a much richer experience.

Best of all, the cards enable gaming brands to increase awareness and sales by displaying products on the shop floor of a variety of retailers, while requiring no investment in stock or inventory.

They create a new retail category, where all cards – whether for console or online gaming – sit next to each other on a display rack.

Also, the choice and variety offered in this category is extensive and allows users to grow into the category – progressing from titles geared towards younger children to social networking and games for teenagers and adults as they age.

In addition to featuring within a gift card centre, the cards can also be ranged next to other products in the brand’s portfolio, such as books and plush toys, or by the gaming consoles themselves.

And the cards themselves become much more than just a payment mechanism or means of entry into a game; they serve as a marketing tool to encourage general awareness of the brand and drive consumers in store.

Gaming has become much more accessible to a mainstream audience. As a result, the messaging reaches everyone from the hardcore gamer to the occasional dabbler. This means a new shopper can enter a store they might not normally frequent specifically looking for the gaming cards.


One brand that realised the potential the cards could serve as part of the larger marketing plan is Moshi Monsters, which already has 25 million registered users worldwide.

In search of a new mechanism for engaging with parents and children who may not be familiar with the brand, the company developed Three-Day Free Trial cards for use in a direct marketing campaign.

The cards accompanied a communication piece incentivising recipients to give Moshi Monsters a try, and promoted retail partners where cards could be purchased once the initial trial concluded. Innovative ideas such as this help gaming brands market themselves and attract a whole new audience.

Simon Osgood is product development manager for InComm. He previously worked in the music industry, before which he had an 11-month stint at InComm. He rejoined the digital content card firm in March.

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