March 24, 2009, 12:00 AM

Partnership allows online gamers to make purchases without using a time out

Playxpert, which allows gamers to communicate and browse the web while playing a game, has teamed with Digital River, which manages sales of digital content online. The plan is to allow gamers to buy services such as add-ons while playing games online.

Playxpert specializes in enabling players of computer games to communicate with each other and browse the web without leaving a game; Digital River Inc. manages online sales for retailers of digital content such as software and games. The two companies are putting their skills together to enable gamers to make purchases without leaving a game.

Initially, the focus will be on selling new versions of computer games or related services. “I’m playing a game that I know John would like. Why don’t I invite him to play the game for two days for free? Then he can be offered to buy the game,” says Jeff Hemenway, group vice president of games, at Digital River.

“You have to meet the buyer where they’re at in a highly viral, integrated social fabric of how friends play and engage with each other and get introduced to new concepts,” says Charles Manning, president and CEO of Playxpert.

Playxpert brings to the partnership its TrueOverlay technology, which game publishers can bundle with their games to enable in-game services. With the addition of Digital River’s e-commerce expertise, Manning foresees publishers being able to offer for sale add-ons and premium services, such as access to content that would enable players-or a group of players called a guild in a multiplayer game-to get to the next level in a game. Playxpert and Digital River would receive a commission on sales.

While the focus for now is on selling game-related content, Manning does not exclude the possibility that the platform could be used to sell other products or services, including music. “I can easily foresee a scenario where there could be synchronized guild-centric music broadcasting so that a whole guild could be listening to the same music as they’re raiding the same enemy,” he says. “Gamers might pay 25 cents to have orchestrated music during a raid.”

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