These days, we often talk about non-traditional commerce strategies and business models. Instead of having a classic webshop with products you can purchase online, many companies do it differently: Transaction yes, but store-front no. Also, those new businesses do not require a full-fledged, tightly integrated software solution. Instead, they are looking for a much smaller footprint and only want to integrate functionality that they actually need.
Take our latest customer, Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast. For their new online game Magic: The Gathering Arena they were looking for a commerce solution that let players buy virtual products directly from within the game. For Wizards and other game developers, there are three key criteria for what a commerce solution needs to enable:
If you are immersed in the game – maybe fighting some dark forces (see also Don’t Disturb Me – I Need a Sword) – the last thing you want is to be dragged out of the experience and sent to another place just because you need to purchase some extra gold. The game creators want to make sure players can stay immersed in the story and live out the experience exactly as they wanted, without interruption. In retail, we call this experience driven commerce. But in the game world, it’s non-intrusive commerce, and it’s critical.
At the same time, the solution should be as cost-efficient as possible, stressing the Wizard’s ambitious business goals. Online games, particularly f2p (free-to-play) games face growing competition not only for players but to monetize their games. One of the methods developers use to monetize games is in-app purchases: buying gold coins, advancing levels, or digital ‘skins’ and add-ons. Adding in-app purchases requires payment transactions and some sort of commerce functionality – adding costs to the game. They need to keep these costs down in order to realize the highest possible monetization.
For an online game, performance and responsiveness are important even as online global battles are fought and more players join. In order to account for this, the underlying system needs to be based on a modern architecture, which allows for unlimited scalability. This may sound like a no-brainer, but for traditional commerce solutions, traffic peaks and high numbers of visitors are actually a big problem. Also, the foundation needs to be flexible so that developers can pick and choose the functionality they need for their digital games – ideally with a state-of-the-art codebase that makes development as fast and efficient as possible.
Which is why Wizards of the Coast decided to use our auto-scalable cloud based platform. Regardless of how many players are online at the same time, we make sure they all have fast experience.
If you would like to know more about how commercetools helps Wizards of the Coast to drive their online gaming business, take a look at this press information that has just been released.