TwoFish Announces Micro-Transaction Engine for Games

A new gaming startup called TwoFish has announced a product called TwoFish Elements that it claims is the “first turnkey solution for powering a dynamic and realistic in-game economy.”

CEO Lee Crawford, who has worked on gaming infrastructure for the likes of Yahoo, Sega,, and, says that TwoFish is addressing the biggest opportunity the gaming industry has ever seen: the rapid emergence of casual, mass-market games. While casual games are becoming increasingly popular, they also draw people who don’t want to pay for games upfront. Publishers are therefore faced with the task of charging them for in-game virtual goods like swords, shields, cars and pets, as well as new levels and functionality.

TwoFish intends to step in and relieve publishers of the burden of developing the requisite micro-transaction systems in-house. TwoFish Elements is a server-side, open source platform based on Java, MySQL, and Linux that provides three layers of service. The first is an accounting and currency management system that takes care of a game’s virtual currency and its relation to real currency. The second is a catalog of virtual items that can be bought within a particular game. And the third is an analytics tool that lets publishers track the goods being bought within their games.

Crawford says that TwoFish Elements can be integrated into a wide range of internet-accessible game types, from lightweight HTML or Flash games to 500mb downloadable titles. While TwoFish itself is not a game publisher, it has been working with one for the past year to produce a proof of concept game called Edge Racers, an MMO for car customization and racing. The company is now soliciting other publishing partners who want to use its engine.

For more coverage, see VentureBeat and GigaOm.