In-app mobile payment provider Zong has announced a massive expansion of its system, allowing payments linked to mobile phone accounts to be included in"nearly any [application] environment," including game consoles and PCs.
Previously available only on Android and through HTML pages, Zong's new system boasts compatibility with games made in Unity and Flash, as well as titles on interactive TVs, Android tablets, and even for console titles.
Zong's system streamlines payments on these platforms, the company says, by linking them to a text-message-confirmed phone number provided by the user. Rather than requiring the user to dig out a credit card or sign up for a separate payment account, Zong-enabled payments are billed directly to the player's mobile phone bill with minimum hassle.
“Mobile payments are gaining traction on all platforms and devices because the convenience is unrivaled,” said Zong CEO David Marcus, in a statement. “Zong’s new platform enables merchants and developers to integrate mobile payment in virtually any environment, be it on a PC, a mobile phone, a tablet or a television.”
It's unclear whether games on console services like Xbox Live Arcade and WiiWare will be allowed to accept such in-game payments, rather than payments through those platforms' exclusive currencies.
Zong faces competition from digital account services like PayPal, as well as other mobile-account-based payment providers including Boku. Last December, Angry Birds
maker Rovio announced plans
for its own cross-platform payment solution run through mobile phone bills, dubbed Bad Piggy Bank.
Last week, Apple closed a loophole
in its own in-app purchase guidelines that allowed users to make purchases without re-enterting log-in information for their iTunes account.