Fortnite Battle Royale, published by Epic Games, was just recently released for iOS to great fanfare; it was previously only available on PC and console. The release has been a tremendous hit with more than 40 million users across all platforms and mobile revenue surpassing $15 million in the first three weeks. Fornite Battle Royale is outperforming other leading titles like Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans and Pokemon Go. This remarkable success has led to a noticeable increase in Boku’s carrier billing volume from Xbox, PS4, and iOS.
While there have been plenty of hit freemium games on mobile, they are rare on console. The console gaming industry has historically been fueled by the sale of physical discs through retail stores and, more recently, a growing number of full-priced downloads. Yet this shift to digital downloads has been slow due to the frequent discounting by physical retailers and the popularity of buying and selling used discs.
But what happens when console games can be downloaded for free? Discs pass into oblivion. Fortnite Battle Royale can be downloaded to your PlayStation and Xbox for free which means the only people buying the physical discs are those with slow Internet connections. So, while the focus has mostly been on Fortnite Battle Royale’s expansion from console to mobile, perhaps the more interesting observation is the expansion of the freemium model from mobile to console.
Boku’s data reveals that this transition has been picking up speed. Overall carrier billing volume on console is steadily increasing as gamers shift their spending (for digital downloads, in-game purchases, and live services) from offline to online. In fact, every time Electronic Arts (which reportedly earned $1.68 billion from in-game purchases last year) releases the latest version of the ever popular FIFA game, Boku sees a predictable spike in carrier billed payment volume from both Xbox and PlayStation.
Fortnite Battle Royale may finally signal the beginning of the end of the physical game disc. If that is the case, the ease with which gamers can make in-game purchases and pay for subscriptions will be critical to the growth of console gaming revenues. The good news is that mobile gaming has already shown how access to simple, ubiquitous payment methods like carrier billing is achievable and critical to success.
In response to this trend, Boku is expanding carrier billing availability on console to more markets while improving in-game purchasing experiences and refining subscription capabilities. That means:
making it easier to securely charge your mobile account from your game controller for a better user experience
handling a wider variety of subscription pricing schemes to improve user acquisition
implementing smarter rebilling and billing recovery features to reduce churn
In the meantime, whether you have a PC, PlayStation, Xbox, or an iOS device, try downloading Fortnite Battle Royale. It’s free!
Today Boku has extended their agreement with Microsoft to bring carrier billing to all Windows 10 devices on Orange France, including Windows Phones, Surface tablets, PC’s and laptops. As part of the expanded integration with Boku, Windows 10 customers on Orange France will be able to use their mobile phone number to save their mobile account as their preferred payment method when making any purchase in the Windows Store.
This is the first time carrier billing will be offered as a payment option for the Windows Store in France and will be available across a full range of devices including Windows Phones, Surface Tablets and any PC or laptop running Windows 10.
France is one of the top global markets for Windows 10 adoption, which currently has over 400 Million downloads globally. Orange boasts over 29 Million subscribers, nearly 40% marketshare, in France.
Today Boku is announcing the expansion of carrier billing for Spotify music lovers in Switzerland via Swisscom. This partnership will help 6.5 Million Swisscom Subscribers to access carrier billing as a payment option for Spotify Premium, creating recurring payments quickly and easily using only their mobile number.
Today, Boku announced a significant expansion of our relationship with Microsoft in two key European markets, the UK and Italy, adding carrier billing as a payment option for Windows Store purchases made on Windows 10 devices.
Now, O2 subscribers in the UK and Wind subscribers in Italy can purchase apps, software, movies, music, games and more on any Windows 10 device including mobile phones, tablets, PCs, and laptops using only their phone number.
This expansion comes quick on the heels of our deal with Microsoft in other key developed markets – the US, Germany and Switzerland – proof that carrier billing is the alternative payment of choice in developed and emerging markets alike.
The new Windows Store is available in 242 markets worldwide, and this is the first time carrier billing will be offered as a payment option for Windows 10 devices in the UK and Italy. Windows 10 is also seeing steady growth globally, having already been installed on more than 350 million devices.
Today Boku is announcing the expansion of carrier billing for streaming music lovers with key carrier partnerships in Germany. Now every major carrier in Germany is allowing their subscribers to gain access to Spotify Premium and set up recurring payments using only their mobile number. With this deal, Spotify now offers customers in Germany a carrier billing option for digital their music purchases.
Today Boku is announcing the expansion of carrier billing for streaming music lovers with key carrier partnership in Ireland. Starting 1st July 2016, Boku’s new partnership with Three will enable the subscribers to gain access to one of Ireland’s most popular streaming music services: Deezer. In addition to having the option of making Deezer purchases using only their mobile phone number, Three customers in Ireland can subscribe for a free trial of Deezer Premium Plus.
As some of you may have seen, this morning DaoPay announced its acquisition of our landline-based “pay by call” service (formerly mopay Call – created by mopay, acquired by Boku in 2014). This agreement allows Boku to transition our landline offering to a trusted partner while we continue to expand our industry-leading mobile carrier billing service.
By working with DaoPay, we have ensured that our merchants’ technical migration is a simple, frictionless reconfiguration. The DaoPay API also brings with it a number of advantages above and beyond our current landline offering including:
Fully flexible tariffs in most countries
Advanced reporting and analysis
Patented dial-through logic (no PIN announcement)
Online overview of past invoices and payment status
Consumer loyalty programme
To read the full announcement press release, go here. If you have any questions for Boku, please feel free to reach out to [email protected]
Today, Boku announced a new direct carrier billing partnership with 3 Hong Kong, one of Hong Kong’s leading mobile carriers and part of the 3 global network which provides mobile services to customers across Australia, Austria, Denmark, Macau, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
This new partnership continues Boku’s rapid expansion in Asia, which has included the opening of new offices in Asia over the past year to serve our growing list of merchant and carrier partners throughout the region. Hong Kong is a particularly attractive market for carrier billing, according to recent Nielsen research. As of early 2014, smartphone penetration in Hong Kong stood at over 87%, with more than 31% of the population owning more than one phone, and 28% of all mobile users participating in some form of m-commerce in the previous month.
Through the new partnership with Boku, 3 Hong Kong subscribers will be able to make purchases on their mobile devices using their mobile phone numbers. At checkout, users choose an item they want to purchase, enter their mobile numbers, and confirm the purchase via text. Their items are then billed to their mobile accounts.
This new partnership with 3 Hong Kong opens millions of new mobile consumers to our industry-leading roster of premium global merchant partners, including Facebook, Sony, Spotify, Electronic Arts, Valve, Wargaming, and many more.
When we announced that Boku’s new e-Money initiative in Europe, we received a flood of inbound questions. What does this license mean for Boku? For the mobile payments industry? What new doors does the license open? How can merchants leverage e-Money?
To answer all of those questions and more, we sat down with James Patmore, Managing Director of EMEA for Boku, to create a video series speaking directly to the questions from merchants and carriers alike. We’ve included the first of these videos below.
James covers a number of topics, some of which are outlined below.
Bringing direct operator billing to physical goods
Some challenges with financial regulations
Benefits of operators outsourcing e-Money related challenges
Today, our company announced the acquisition of one of our strongest and most respected competitors, mopay. This acquisition brings about the combination of two world-renowned companies and teams in carrier billing for the benefit of merchants, carriers, and consumers alike.
As a result of this acquisition, Boku will become the single largest standalone provider of carrier billing-based mobile payment services in the world. To say that today is an important day in the history of our company and our industry would be a tremendous understatement.
As our CEO, Jon Prideaux, commented this morning: “By coming together we’ve created a company that can realize the vision of charging purchases to your phone bill as a truly global payment method at scale. Together, Boku and mopay serve some of the largest digital merchants in the world and together and we have one tremendous pipeline in the works.”
Those merchants include marquee mopay customers such as Valve, gameloft, and Wargaming. These companies will join long-standing Boku merchant partners such as Facebook, Sony, Spotify, and Electronic Arts, as well as new partners IPC Media and corethree, who are helping to bring carrier billing further into the real world through our company’s e-Money initiative.
Ultimately, the merger represents a combination of two largely complementary organizations, with similar value propositions to carriers and merchants across the virtual, digital and physical goods categories. The combined assets of the two companies will offer greater scale and operational efficiency and a more standardized carrier billing solution to all.
Our new organization offers mobile payments in more than 80 countries around the world, reaching close to 5 billion consumers.
We look forward to continuing to build upon the solid foundation laid by both Boku and mopay over the years, serving our customers and partners, and bringing the power of mobile payments to more consumers across the globe. Together.