Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Makes Buying Games Easier

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XIHA Games, a digital games store supported by a large international online community, now offers a selection of over a 1000 casual game titles and adds bank transfer to the payment options as the first pan-European online store. Over 1.2 million people have visited the website during the 6-month beta testing period, top-5 countries being China, U.S., Brazil, France and Spain.

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SEPA enables us to finally consider Europe as a single market area. Bank transfers have become faster and cheaper, and by 2011, they work just like domestic payments

XIHA Games (http://www.xihalife.com/games/), a digital games store supported by a large international online community, now offers a selection of over a 1000 casual game titles and adds bank transfer to the payment options as the first pan-European online store.

"Casual games differs in many ways from other, so called 'hardcore' games, which usually require a high-end game console or a PC", describes Jani Penttinen, XIHA's Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer. "In brief, casual games are suitable for the whole family, and they are fun and easy to play. The games work on almost all standard PC and Mac computers". According to the U.S. -based Casual Games Association, last year 74% of the casual game buyers were female and 72% were over 35 years old, whereas a typical hardcore gamer is 15-35 year old male.

XIHA Games store is powered by its user community - 1.2 million people visited the site during the 6-month beta testing period. Users are encouraged to write game reviews and recommend the games they enjoy playing on their personal profile pages. The completely open, so called "social media" approach to marketing helps game buyers to base purchasing decisions on peer reviews. For publishers, this minimizes the cost of advertising, as the games get promoted by fans to a global audience speaking over 20 different languages.

Casual games are one of the fastest growing segments of the gigantic video games industry. "Casual gaming revenues reached USD 675 million in 2007 and the annual growth has recently been as much as 30%," says Juhani Polkko, XIHA's Chief Strategy Officer. "SEPA enables us to finally consider Europe as a single market area. Bank transfers have become faster and cheaper, and by 2011, they work just like domestic payments". XIHA Games offers free downloads on all its titles without mandatory registration. Games can be bought after the trial period by sending an order and paying the email invoice for example through electronic bill payment.

XIHA Games Top-10 selling titles for February 2008 were:
1. Jojo's Fashion Show
2. Sally's Salon
3. Paradise Pet Salon
4. Turbo Pizza
5. Jane's Hotel
6. Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate
7. Baby Luv
8. Cake Mania 2
9. Wedding Dash
10. Cradle of Rome

XIHA Games:
XIHA Games is part of the international and multilingual XIHA Life online community. The service is developed and operated by XIHA Ltd, a Helsinki, Finland, based startup company. XIHA Life currently supports over 20 languages, and receives most of its traffic from China, U.S., Brazil, France and Spain.

SEPA countries:
Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) consists of 31 countries, including those that have not introduced the euro currency. SEPA's first phase became operational on January 28, 2008, and the payment instruments will replace national systems by 2011. SEPA countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, as well as non-EU member states Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Press contact information:
Juhani Polkko
XIHA Ltd
Tel. +358 40 543 0825 (GMT +2)

References:
Casual Games Association
European Central Bank

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Juhani Polkko
XIHA Ltd
+358405430825
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