Accepting micro payments and which company to use to do so, has almost always been a hot topic for any game owner or any site owner infact. I decided to try and analyse how we narrowed down our options for our payment gateway on our games.
First things first – indentify possibilities
1. Paypal – Of course how could we forget, paypal are the giants of micro payments online and dont they know it!
2. GoogleCheckout – Ever growing in size and useability also have good rates.
3. Internet merchant number – Full card processing
4. Moneybookers – The slightly less recognised long lost brother of paypal
5. Amazon micropayments – Very low rates but also fairly poor integration.
Analyse The Options
Paypal – A massive massive micro payment processor, very easy to integrate and use. However to the point where it is far to easy to make chargebacks for the user. Paypal also do not cover digitally signed goods. People like me and you send our goods electronically right away when the items are paid for in full. Chargebacks are rife and even when you have dine absolutely nothing wrong, you will feel the brunt of some time and time again. At £7.00 and the ability to chargeback well beyond the 3 months card issuer agreement your in real danger using this tool. However the integration is simple and can be easily fully automated which is great. Paypal also charge high fees on transactions and moving money compared to most other companies.
Googlecheckout has low fees and a very simple to use interface, it also allows you to pay with almost any recognised card without having to be verified on an account before hand, thus is a great processor for card payments. However once again it is extremely easy to initiate and win a chargeback if you are the buyer well after you have received the goods.
Sms and Phone – A market in which is dominated by the mobile phone operators, they charge SO much that of a £10 premium text msg paymnt to us we will receive around £5 of it. If not less. I would suggest not accepting small amounts via sms as you are likely to receive and even smaller amount of the payout.
Your probable starting to get the gist here many of the large companies make alot of there cash through chargebacks and large fees, googlecheckout transaction fees are pretty good though if you just need something to accept card payments through.
Heres what we did
Unfortunately you will only be able to do this if you are running your own business. Ring your bank manager and ask him to set you up merchant number. (Watch out this is never normally free). If this is your first account of this type your likely to come accross similar problems to us and have to lump the fact the bank may hold onto the money that comes through the account for up to 3 months before releasing it. But hey at least you cant get it spend it and then get chargebacked! We have a 90 days negotiation on our account at current with a promise of a re-assessment within 6 months or so which should put it down to 60 days. Its not ideal, but it does hold some benefits. Next get yourself registered for a service like paypoint.net which have now taken over from the old services of secpay. It will cost you anything from £10 a month to £40 depending on what you want from your account with them. We went with a very basic package to begin with, as it is free to upgrade willy nilly as and when!
The great thing about this is that paypoint use CVS checking, which checks with the banks themselves during payment. Shifting blame of the transaction to them and not us. Thus reducing chargebacks dramatically.
By day I run Bytewire Limited and we focus primarily on building and developing our online mmorpg style games. We are currently focused on building our new improved version of our online gangster game street-crime.com which is coming along really really well! If your thinking about setting out to make your own mmorpg style game, it can be a very daunting process. I will look to provide some tips and un-cover some traps you will in-evitably encounter with this article.
The Mmorpg In your Game
Now we’ve probably all been there at some point when we think we have a good idea for a game but have we all really found the ‘MMORPG’ of that idea. This would be the concept which takes the idea from a single player game to a massively multiplayer online role play game! The likes of Street Crime make good use of it which is my companies online gangster mmorpg. Other good uses of it can be seen at Omerta and Torn city.
Moving the game from the idea to the real thing can sometimes be the most tricky part, especially as development can span many months. Its difficult over the months to stay focused and consistent, but it is important that you always have goals and challenges set for yourself so that you stay focused. You will find that putting all the pieces together can be hugely time consuming, id suggest not attempting to make a game if you do not have the spare time sufficient enough to finish and manage it.
Your online game provides a service to people. Often taking real money for small incentive features in the game, therefore people will expect to receive some form of support and help if something goes wrong or doesnt work quite as expected. So you need the time to give it some TLC every now and then.
If you fail to do the above Chargebacks could happen. If users are un-happy that they paid for a service they feel you did not provide fully, you will more than likely be chargebacked for any money that they did spend on your site. In which case they will inevitably get there money back and you will end up with a charge of $7-$10 per transaction. Nice eh! No.
Uptime and your Server / Hosts are a very important part of creating your online game, finding the right hosts for you will be a combination of price/reliability/uptime and speed. If your game is a serious project id suggest you focus on Uptime, Speed, Support and Reliability more than you do price. As these will be the areas in which you will encounter problems as you move forward.
Advertising and Exposure
You might make a fantastic game with real potential but if know ones ever heard of it nor can they find it, its going to be very hard for your game to grow. Google Adwords is a good start, Advertise Your Game and submitting your game to alot of topsites like Top Games Zone and asking your players to vote for your game for small incentives will increase exposure but again its not easy at the beginning to increase exposure in this way.
Instead what you want to try and do is create a viral loop, so that anyone who does make it to your site has to then at least double there worth in terms of inviting at least one other friend to the game. You could either do this by offering incentives so the user wants to invite his or friends or try to almost corner the user to invite one friend before they can continue. Either way should work pretty nicely.
Your other tool if you are a website developer is SEO – Search engine optimisation! Not the most fun thing in the world to do but the results speak for themselves. Our online games rank well for the keywords we have identified as important for them. SEO is a slow process especially if your domain name is new averaging probably up to 6 months before google starts to give you the credit you deserve. However its importance is huge, if implemented successfully you could open yourself up to huge amounts of free advertising.
I Hope this helps a little bit if your thinking about making a mmorpg game. I will cover more about making an online mmorpg game very soon!