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A guide to gaming-specific Merchants of Record

April 11, 2024
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Let’s continue our ongoing exploration of business models for the gaming industry. We've already addressed the ways to choose between Payment Service Providers (PSP) and (Merchants of Record) MOR, and even delved into how gaming-focused MORs can offer different services than generic ones. Now, we're diving deeper into the world of gaming-specific MoRs themselves. Quite a few companies operate under the MoR model specifically for video games. These companies, both established veterans and newcomers, offer similar suites of services from handling payments and fraud protection to tax and compliance management, and even helping you monetize outside of major platforms. Game industry MoRs might even help you build out your web shop, support your game’s subscriptions, and offer checkout customization.

Xsolla’s guide: Finding the right MoR for you

So, what really sets these MoRs apart? Expertise. Years of experience and dedicated personnel are what truly set apart seasoned MoRs. To help guide you toward the best fit for you, we've put together a checklist for evaluating potential MoRs for your gaming business.
  1. Business expertise
  2. Compliance
  3. Company size
  4. Global presence
  5. Portfolio and success stories
  6. In-house vs. third-party solutions
  7. Transparency and stability
1. Business expertise A company that has been in operation for a longer period of time is likely to have encountered various challenges, adapted to changes in the market, and gained valuable knowledge and expertise in its industry. This experience can be reflected in the quality of products or services offered, the efficiency of operations, and the ability to navigate complexities within the business landscape. However, don't discount the potential of newer MoRs, which may be particularly adept at leveraging the latest technologies and trends, such as blockchain or cryptocurrency integration. They might also be more flexible in their approach, offering customizable solutions that cater to the specific needs of your gaming business. 2. Compliance Compliance is a crucial aspect to consider when choosing a gaming-specific MoR. Here are four key areas to consider: PAYMENT COMPLIANCE
One of the most important standards is PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). Adherence to PCI DSS ensures the MoR securely handles and stores consumer card data. When evaluating potential MoRs, ask about their PCI DSS compliance. Do they have their own infrastructure to achieve this, or do they rely on a payment partner?
A PCI DSS compliant MoR can support tokenization for secure one-click and recurring payments. However, if the MoR is not PCI DSS compliant but uses a compliant PSP (Payment Service Provider), the PSP stores the card data. This means that switching processors would require migrating tokens to your new MoR. TAX COMPLIANCE
The MoR you are considering might have an in-house tax team or use third-party services for tax calculation, collection, and filing. A crucial factor to assess is the extent of their coverage. Some companies only operate in limited jurisdictions for tax services, such as solely in the United States, while others extend support to North America and other major markets like Australia and Europe. It is essential to verify the number of countries where the potential MoR is tax compliant.
You should also check their ability to track and promptly adapt to tax changes, provide transparent insights into your sales data, and explain how they achieve this level of service. Check out our global tax management page to see how Xsolla – as a gaming-focused MoR with an in-house tax team and tools – can address developers’ tax compliance needs around the world. DATA PRIVACY COMPLIANCE
Ensure the MoR you're considering properly handles personal data of consumers in multiple regions. This means they should be compliant with data privacy regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation - EU), CCPA and CPRA (California Consumer Privacy Act and California Privacy Rights Act - USA), COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act - USA), among others.
VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY COMPLIANCE
The right gaming-focused MoR understands and follows gaming-specific regulations. Examples include notifying underage customers about spending limits in South Korea or notifying Japanese users about expiring virtual currency balances that equal or exceed 10 million JPY. This notification process can be automated via the End User License Agreement (EULA) and a checkbox on the payment selection page. The MoR should also be aware of the complex and dynamically changing landscape of loot box regulations.
3. Company size The number of employees a gaming-specific MoR has can be a strong indicator of the level of customer service you can expect. Here’s a breakdown of common traits for differently sized Merchants of Record: SMALLER COMPANIES

  • Limited staff may struggle to handle a high volume of client requests.
  • Customer support may be restricted to specific hours or channels.
  • Dedicated specialists for each client might be unavailable.
LARGER COMPANIES

  • Often allocate several specialists per client for various needs.
  • Frequently offer 24/7 customer support for developers.
For an example of a robust team structure, Xsolla allocates the following to each partnered game developer:
  • Dedicated Integration Manager
  • Dedicated Account Manager
  • Business Development Manager
  • Client Success Manager
  • Partners can also access our partners’ customer support agents 24/7 in multiple languages and across various channels.
TEAM SIZE VARIATION
The number of dedicated specialists assigned to your project can vary depending on the MoR's solutions you utilize. For example, integrating Xsolla Web Shop grants access to a team of over 10 people, including: a project manager, content manager, designers, account manager, solution architect, integration manager, front-end and back-end developers, quality assurance engineers, technical customer support, data analyst, live operations, and a growth manager.
4. Global presence xsolla-blog-game-specific-mors-featured-image-01-1056x573.webp Beyond streamlining communication and reducing operational expenses, a gaming-specific MoR's global network of offices offers significant advantages. A MoR with a presence in multiple regions can provide backup options, mitigating potential risks and ensuring your operations continue even if disruptions occur in a specific location. This global reach is also crucial for navigating complex regulations in different countries. For instance, partnering with an MoR lacking a physical presence in Japan might limit access to popular local payment methods like PayPay and LINE Pay. This is why, when choosing a MoR, you should consider their presence in your current video game markets, but also those you plan to expand into in the future. 5. Portfolio and success stories Putting careful consideration into your potential MoR’s past performance and service offerings can give you:
  • Indicators of future support. A MoR's track record demonstrates their ability to provide ongoing support and adapt to evolving business needs. Look for a history of successfully managing client projects and a willingness to innovate as the industry changes.
  • Range of products & solutions. Explore the MoR's portfolio to understand the breadth of products and solutions they offer. This gives you an idea of their adaptability and the potential for future growth within their ecosystem.
  • Credibility assessment. Research the MoR's client portfolio, success stories, and launched projects. Established players with a proven track record offer a lower risk compared to new companies with limited practical experience.
6. In-house vs. third-party solutions When evaluating a potential MoR, consider their approach to fulfilling MoR obligations – specifically, whether they utilize in-house solutions or rely on third-party providers. While utilizing third-party solutions is common, there are key factors to consider:
  • Industry specificity. Third-party vendors often cater to various industries, including food delivery, and even travel (note: not online video games). This can lead to solutions lacking the specific needs of the gaming industry, such as custom fraud prevention parameters and cross-game analytics.
  • Fraud protection. In-house developed fraud prevention solutions can be tailored to the unique challenges of gaming, potentially offering a higher level of protection compared to generic third-party tools.
  • Dispute management. Automated dispute resolution systems offered by third-party vendors can be helpful, but they shouldn't replace dedicated human oversight. Look for MoRs that combine in-house dispute management teams with automated tools for optimal results.
7. Transparency and stability A gaming MoR's transparency and stability are also crucial for a successful partnership. A clear and informative website is a good sign. If you find yourself constantly needing to contact the MoR to get basic details, it might indicate a lack of transparency. On the stability side, even the most impressive solutions are meaningless without a reliable foundation. Look for information about the MoR's system uptime and historical incidents, if publicly available. The fewer incidents and higher uptime a MoR has, the more you can trust them to consistently support your business. xsolla-blog-game-specific-mors-featured-image-02-1056x573.webp Let Xsolla be your Merchant of Record Xsolla is here to guide you as you craft a business model that's as unique as your goals and unlocks your global audience's full potential. Visit our website to dive further into what Xsolla can offer, as well as the benefits of a MoR partnership, to unlock access to a variety of tools that can help you securely accept global payment methods and reach more players worldwide. Whether you're ready to take the first or the next step in the evolution of your game business, reach out to one of Xsolla’s experts to get started.
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