SMARTRAC and Cartamundi cooperate on NFC-enabled gaming cards

Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Turnhout (Belgium), 15 April 2015 – RFID industry pacesetter SMARTRAC and Cartamundi, worldwide leader in the production and sales of playing cards and cards for board games, have announced their exclusive cooperation. SMARTRAC will develop customized NFC tags for gaming and collectible cards, which will be used by Cartamundi.

The two leaders of their respective industries are cooperating to leverage and drive the growth of the global mobile gaming market, which is forecast to reach a market value of US$ 30 billion this year. NFC-enabled cards are a perfect complement to smartphones and tablets as gaming platforms: the majority of these devices are NFC-enabled, mobile games and collectible cards share family-friendly price levels, and they fit perfectly into a player’s pocket.

Enhancing the mobile gaming experience

NFC-enabled cards can be used as active elements within a game, enhancing the playing experience. For example, a character depicted on an NFC-enabled collectible card can be introduced into a mobile game by simply tapping the phone on it. Such NFC tags need to be particularly thin and inexpensive, without sacrificing functionality and reliability. For mobile gaming brands and developers, NFC-equipped cards will open up new revenue streams from additional licensing opportunities. As an additional benefit, SMARTRAC NFC tags can also facilitate brand protection and further enhance product authentication.

Opening up potential markets

For SMARTRAC, this cooperation with Cartamundi is an important step ahead in its NFC-related business Toys and Gaming. The roughly 15 billion playing, promotional, casino and collector cards produced every year represent an extremely interesting market that could, in turn, benefit from mobile gaming growth, if both areas are connected via NFC technology.

Steven Nietvelt, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer at Cartamundi: ”Playing with cards connects people, just like online social media would do. But the true magic of playing cards and card games lies in the physicality and in the playing rituals. You shuffle the cards, you bend the cards, you deal the cards…nothing beats that tactile aspect of the product. So that’s why we need intuitive, tactile technology. Swiping cards on a mobile device should feel as natural as the real thing. It’s not easy to do it, and for that reason we need to work with the best technology and the best partners.”

“We are proud to be partnering with an undisputed leader like Cartamundi. Our cooperation agreement marks the beginning of a totally new era for collectible cards. Kids love playing and interacting with cards, but they also like mobile games, so combining the two is an unbeatable opportunity for toy and gaming brands”, explains Mikko Nikkanen, Director Business Development, Electronics and Gaming at SMARTRAC.

Discover more about SMARTRAC’s NFC technology and Toys and Gaming solutions @ RFID Journal Live!, booth # 612, 15-17 April 2015, Convention Center, San Diego, CA, USA.

About Cartamundi

Cartamundi is able to boost nearly 250 years of experience in the production and sales of playing cards and cards for games. The headquarters of Cartamundi are located in Turnhout, Belgium. The group generated sales in 2014 of 200 million Euros, with a workforce of 1,700 and factories in Belgium, Germany, France, UK, Poland, USA, Brazil, Mexico, India and Japan, and 14 sales offices worldwide. In 2008, the company was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year. Cartamundi has its own card game collection with licensed cards (such as Disney®, James Bond®, Hasbro®, Fifa®, etc.), but is also known for its promotional card collections, casino cards, collector cards (e.g. Yu-Gi-Oh!®) and cards for games (such as Uno®, Monopoly®) or the new concept iCards. These cards provide the connection between physical cards and the virtual world of the Internet, smartphones, gaming consoles, and so on. Cartamundi’s global vision is “sharing the magic of playing together”.