American Express Joins Forces With Video Game Maker
Talk about a big, captive audience. Every month the online video game called League of Legends attracts 32 million players from all around the world, who together spend a staggering one billion hours virtually battling and trying to outsmart one another.
In August of 2013, American Express announced a partnership with the developer of League of Legends, Riot Games, to release a line of prepaid debit cards geared specifically towards the game’s many devoted fans. According to a report in The New York Times, the collaboration is a way for American Express to capture the much- coveted attention of the mostly male, 18 to 24-year-old players while providing Riot Games with the kind of financial resources it needs to expand. “There is a great opportunity for brands here, particularly brands that make sense for our players,” Times reporter Tanzina Vega quoted Dustin Beck, vice president of electronic sports at Riot Games as saying.
While the American Express Serve Prepaid Account works in much the same way as any prepaid debit card – allowing cardholders to fund their accounts in a variety of ways, including direct deposit, and then spend the money wherever American Express is accepted – there are naturally a host of elements designed to appeal to League of Legend gamers. Indeed, according to the American Express press release announcing the partnership, players can personalize their cards with images and logos from the game. Perhaps more importantly, using the prepaid debit card earns players so-called “Riot Points,” which is the virtual currency used in League of Legends to purchase characters and other goodies helpful in the game.
For instance, anyone who completes registration for the card – which has no activation fee and no minimum balance – earns 1,000 Riot Points. Loading $20 onto the card for the first time earns gamers 1,000 and initiating direct deposit to fund the card garners 10,000 Riot Points. American Express undoubtedly hopes that the passion so many people have for League of Legends will transfer to the prepaid debit card. “Riot Games is passionate about serving their players and giving them avenues for enhancing their gaming experience,” said Stefan Happ, senior vice president, US Payment Options for American Express. “Together we’ve been able to create a co-branded product with a unique rewards program that will help League of Legends players earn Riot Points whenever they use their card to make qualifying purchases.”