A new service called Square is opening its doors to the gaming world, offering pay-to-play games to anyone with an internet connection.
Here’s how it works: You can pay $5 to $10 to have your character killed in a video game, and you’ll receive the same rewards as you’d receive for participating in a regular round of online multiplayer.
The service was launched last week, but it’s only available for players in the US and Canada, where it’s set to launch later this month.
“It’s not a one-time deal.
You get it when you want it, and it gets rewarded for playing,” said Mike Zuber, Square’s head of product management.
You’ll earn points in the form of coins and virtual currency called “gold,” which can be redeemed for in-game items.
The company has raised $40 million from investors, including Zynga, Facebook, Intel, Twitter, and Amazon.
But the company isn’t looking to launch its service in Australia or New Zealand anytime soon.
“We think the market is much more mature than Australia,” Zuber said.
“You can get your coins back in a way that’s more like a real-world currency, and if you want to trade them you can do that as well.
You can’t buy them.”
Zuber declined to reveal how many people are signed up for the service.
In addition to the gold, you’ll get rewards for spending points on purchases in-app.
That includes the ability to play with your friends, and buying items like weapons, clothing, and hats.
The rewards system is a little confusing at first, since the company says you can earn points for playing games on your device.
But once you understand how the system works, you should be able to use it to play games, Zuber told CNNMoney.
You’re rewarded for buying items that you can’t normally buy with real money, like a character that has a lower price than the average game, or a level that’s lower than the player’s own.
It’s like, OK, I can pay to have my character killed and get the same reward as I would get for playing a level 50 character.
“There’s a little bit of a learning curve,” Zber said.
But if you are a gamer who likes to spend money on things like games, you can sign up for Square’s game loyalty program, which offers rewards to anyone who plays at least five games a month.
Zuber did say that there’s no guarantee that people will keep playing the games they play.
“Our expectation is that people who play these games will buy more and more games,” he said.
Square said the service isn’t available in all markets yet, but that it’s rolling out in the next few weeks.
And it’s not the only gaming company that’s trying to connect gamers with real-money rewards.
Earlier this year, Zyngas own company, Mojang, announced it would provide real-time payments to users who played Minecraft and other popular online games.
The program is similar to Square, but Mojang is offering in-person games, which are currently not part of the Square pay-per-play program.
“The real-life value that these games offer is unique,” Zubber said of Mojang’s payment service.
“People can earn real-things in the real world.”
It’s unclear how many of Square’s customers have signed up, but Zuber noted that the company’s pay-for-play service is in its infancy, and he didn’t have a good estimate for how many users it might be able draw.
If Square can attract enough users to the service, it will have a lot of money to spend on advertising.
But Zuber warned that Square will have to start scaling up its pay-through-games program as more and less players sign up.
“If we don’t have enough people signing up, it’s going to take a little longer to grow,” Zube said.
He added that the service is available in limited areas.
“At the end of the day, we think this is a service that’s going be really great for the gaming community,” Zauber said, adding that it could grow to become one of the world’s largest pay-in-games programs.
Square is launching its new pay-as-you-play version of Mojangs pay-by-play game, called Minecraft Gold.
Zubbing also said that Mojang will be offering other games to players as well, like World of Tanks and Star Wars: Battlefront.
“These are the types of games that we’ve been working on for a long time,” Zunber said about the Minecraft Gold and other games, adding, “We’re really excited to be able give back to the community.”
(Follow Daniela Baeza on Twitter: @DanielaBaeza)