Online gaming in Brazil is a R$200 million ($120,7 mi) per year business. It is estimated that 75% of all social media users (25 million) in that country are active online gamers.
Not missing a heartbeat, Zynga has invested heavily in the Brazilian market and it has developed versions of its most popular games specifically to that market. It has had incredible results. Its version of FarmVille (Colheita Feliz) was developed for Orkut first, since it is still the number one social networking site there.
The recent Facebook expansion has benefited Zynga tremendously, since it now has full versions of its games available on Orkut, Facebook, on their on website and on smartphone apps.
In November of 2010, Zynga announced a partnership with American Express to offer offer pre-paid game cards for those reluctant to use a credit or debit card on a social media site.
In Brazil, the same announcement was made late February 2011 and it seems like Zynga might once again hit the jackpot in the Brazilian market. The pre-paid game cards will be sold nationwide at 120,000 news stands and pharmacies plus at $10,000 LAN houses at R$4, R$10, R$20 and R$40 ($2.40, $6, $12 and $24).
Experts foresee the online games business will increase 50% in Brazil by next year. Zynga’s goal is to sell the pre-paid cards in 700 thousand locations in Brazil in the next two months, according to Folha.com.
It is not unreasonable to think that Zynga may achieve its goal. I believe while the timeline is very bold, pre-paid game cards might become as popular as calling cards once were before cell phones became widely affordable.
News stands are strategic points of sale in Brazil because they are everywhere and offer reliable business, a relief to those uncomfortable with the idea of online purchasing (Brazil is a goldmine for cyberfraud).
Pharmacies in Brazil are much like convenience stores, you find anything there, so it would also be an optimal location to find game cards.
But the genius in Zynga’s marketing, in my opinion, are the LAN houses. Although those rent-a-computer stations are individually owned and not uniformly organized, they are the number one place to access the internet for those who do not own a computer. Other public internet stations like libraries and such do not offer the time, convenience and support that LAN houses do. So by being offered right where the people are, will be key to the success of the pre-pay game card.