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Gaming in the digitalization age: players & payers

ACI Worldwide and Newzoo studied the impact of digitalization on the way gamers spend. The resulting insight on payment habits, and favorite games, of American, British and German players was published  in the “What Turns Players Into Payers: Understanding the Gaming Payments Experience” report.

As expected, digital downloads are increasingly popular, with 62% of gamers preferring them to boxed or disc games. More than ever, optimizing payments to seamlessly integrate within gameplay is proving necessary, as 51% of gamers make in-game purchases.

In 2018, the global gaming market should reach 137.9 billion USD, with the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany account for nearly 30% of its revenues. Converting players into buyers is no easy task, making it a challenging environment.

The popularization of free-to-play games across all platforms has opened new revenue pathways. However, 40% of non-paying gamers find the free gaming experience satisfactory, and do not spend on games, leaving room to further monetization of the gameplay, and thus, more revenues. Insecurities regarding fraud risks should be addressed, as a third of online players reported themselves as concerned by fraud.

The payment industry must take platforms into consideration. For example, while mobile gaming strongly dominated, with 90% of respondents actively gaming on mobile devices, the popularity of free titles makes it the platform with the lowest turnover rate.

Gaming habits also vary from a country to another. American players are much more likely (60%) to pay for mobile gaming than their British and German counterparts (49% and 43%, respectively).

Across markets and platforms, the e-wallet giant PayPal was the preferred payment method, confirming the growing prevalence of alternative payment methods in gaming. Nearly a quarter of gamers surveyed had a positive opinion on using cryptocurrencies to pay, indicating potential growth in its mainstream acceptance and accessibility increases. When choosing a payment method, gamers relied on trust (38%) and speed (30%).

Gaming is one of the fastest growing segments within the broader entertainment industry, which continues to undergo rapid change as many forms of entertainment go fully digital,said Andy McDonald, vice president - merchant payments, ACI Worldwide. “Mobile and console gaming is driving changes in payments, especially with smaller value – and more frequent – in-app purchases on the rise. Gaining insight into the payment habits of gamers – especially as the cross-platform success of franchises such as Fortnite increases – is critical, as businesses strive to deliver next-generation, seamless payments experiences.