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    7-Eleven Reports Triple-Digit Prepaid Gaming Card Growth

    C-store giant doubles the number of cards offered in stores as demand spikes.

    DALLAS -- 7-Eleven expanded its selection of gaming cards due to their increased popularity, the company reported. Used to enhance players' experience in Massive Multi-player Online Games, or MMOGs, a popular activity with hundreds of millions of people around the world, the sale of these cards doubled over the past year. As a result, the number of titles available in 7-Eleven stores also doubled to respond to the surge of MMOG players, according to the company.

    With more than 30 titles, 7-Eleven stores carry one of the largest selections of prepaid gaming cards among U.S. retailers. While the two-year economic slowdown hit the usually bullet-proof gaming industry hard as people limited their discretionary spending on consoles and videogames, prepaid game cards proved to be a bright spot, the retailer said.

    "Electronics and videogames are still the number one request on teens' holiday wish- lists," said Brian Haynes, 7-Eleven category manager for prepaid cards. "With tighter budgets, many are choosing more affordable online games. Virtual currency or points can go a long way to enhance these online games without much cost."

    Prepaid gaming cards allow kids and teens to purchase virtual currency or points without having to ask for parents' credit or debit card. The virtual currency can be used to buy everything from a cool pair of sunglasses for their avatar (a graphical image that represents a person) or a magic sword in a fantasy game.

    The newest additions to the 7-Eleven assortment are a prepaid card from Zynga Game Network, creator of the wildly popular social games YoVille, FarmVille, FishVillem Mafia Wars and ZeevEx, which developed a universal virtual currency to purchase virtual goods in multiple games. Game card prices at 7-Eleven stores range from $5 to $50.

    Additionally, major game-system manufacturers, such as Nintendo, Microsoft Xbox Live Marketplace and Sony PlayStation, entered the arena with their own prepaid cards, used to acquire points, which can be redeemed online to purchase content including games, videos and accessories for avatars -- the graphic identities chosen by game-players.

    Two types of Microsoft Xbox Live cards are available at participating stores -- an Xbox Live Marketplace points card and a subscription card for access to online features. 7-Eleven carries one-month ($7.99), three-month ($19.99) and 12-month ($49.99) Xbox Live subscription cards.

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