Which online payment methods are most favourable for gamers?

Gaming preferences and payment methods across the world

ECommPay has compelled a report of the different aspects of online gaming in different countries which tries to answer some of the questions most pertinent to industry specialists: which devices are most preferable in different countries? Which payment methods are most favourable for users? What are the market limitations?

No limitations

The Internet has introduced new levels of comfort and convenience to contemporary society. Online, we can avoid suffering in long queues, stressing over decisions, or wasting time looking for something specific. Even children know that almost everything you could possibly need or imagine can be achieved or purchased through the Internet. Need to buy new clothes, pay bills, play games, grow your business? No problem. There is no limitation on possibilities in the virtual world. 

The options are endless online, attracting users from all over the world. One of the most popular and widespread activities on the Internet is the realm of online gaming. As of 2013, more than 140 million people worldwide are considered daily active online gamers, meaning that they play online at least once per day, and this number is only growing.

Largest gaming market – USA

The largest and most mature gaming market in the world is the birthplace of commercial gaming, the United States of America. There are more than 170 million gamers in this region, meaning that more than 50% of the population plays or has played online games. The average US gamer spends around 12 EUR on video games per month and the largest age group for gaming is 18-35.

Which devices do Americans use for playing games? According to research, PC (30%) and consoles (28%) are the most preferable, followed by smartphones (17%) and wireless devices (15%), with handheld devices coming last at 10%.

60% of the American population spends money on online games. Almost half of this number chooses to pay for their purchases by credit card. The remainder is divided by PayPal (27%) and Prepaid (21%), with only 2% opting for eWallet or Mobile.

The most frustrating aspect of payment for online shoppers in the USA is remembering passwords, seeing additional fees added at checkout, and pop-up payment windows. The most common device used to purchase digital content is the PC (67%), smartphone (30%), and tablet (25%). Most Americans tend to prefer one-off payments for online content rather than subscriptions.

Market with a long history – UK

The United Kingdom has a long history of both developing and playing video games. More than 33.5 million people (55% of the whole population) plays or has played online games, making the UK the fifth largest gaming market in the world. Despite the fact that the UK market is quite mature, forecasts still predict growth in the future. Analysts in the UK expect game developers to continue introducing and penetrating the market with new products.

The most widespread devices to play video games are consoles (26%), PC (24%), smartphones (21%), tablets (17%), and handheld (12%). More and more users are becoming ‘four screen’ gamers, meaning that they actively use all devices available to them for gaming purposes.

The digital sales of games (2.06 billion EUR) are bigger than the digital sales of both music and videos combined (1.78 billion EUR). The main platform for growth are comprised of iPhone and iPad gaming. There are 1902 video games companies in the UK, 95% of which are micro and small-sized enterprises (less than 50 employees). 

Popular payment methods in the UK include credit card (40%), PayPal (37%), Prepaid (9%), e-Wallet (9%), and e-Voucher (5%). A large number of UK gamers share their US counterparts’ frustration, finding it difficult to remember passwords. 25% of British gamers report disappointment if additional payments are incurred at checkout and an equivalent number get annoyed by pop-up windows. 75% of British gamers believe that all devices should offer the option of buying digital content.

Attractive market for foreign companies – Russian Federation

Russia has one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world, but the market remains at the immature stage. The average annual growth rate for internet users is 10% (850 thousand people), which makes the Russian Federation a very attractive prospect for foreign companies.

The current size of the Russian market is 46.4 million gamers, which means that it is the 12th largest global market in terms of gaming revenues. 98% of Russian gamers use their PC to play video games and 56% report spending money on games. Russia takes 7th place on the iPad Apple store, 11th place on the iPhone Apple store, and 10th place on Google Play.

In comparison with the US and the UK, Russian consumers prefer paying by fundamentally different, alternative payment options. The most popular payment method is the e-Wallet, used by 30% of online gamers, while PayPal is preferred by only 9%. Credit card, mobile payments, and bank transfers are used by an almost equal percentage of gamers, though the percentages remain low.

The most frustrating aspects of payment for Russian online gaming consumers is the inability to use their preferred method of payment, the additional fees charged at checkout, and pop-up payment windows (as most Russians prefer integrated payment systems). Four out of five Russian digital product buyers would prefer to use the same payment method to buy all types of digital content (games, apps, software). 

Immensely profitable market – Japan

The Japanese gaming industry is one of the largest in the world, with more than 65 million people playing video games on various devices. The estimated value of the Japanese gaming market was more than 8 billion EUR in 2015, with half of the revenue coming from mobile gaming. Despite 2014’s record decline, the lowest in 24 years, the Japanese market is now forecasted to grow and restore its position within the next few years, mainly as a result of the popularity of mobile and F2P games.

29% of Japanese consumers choose credit cards as their preferred payment method, but this figure will grow as the industry expands and improves. The main catalyst for this phenomenon is the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will welcome large amounts of visitors and tourists.

Japanese people traditionally have a cash-oriented culture and remain extremely cautious about payments that involve sharing personal banking information. The second most popular payment method is the prepaid card Konbinis, which can be bought with cash at kiosks or shops for later use online. It is not yet widely available for the gaming industry, but these options are in development.

80% of Japanese gamers prefer to make one-off payments rather than to purchase subscriptions, largely due to the fact that PC gaming is less popular than handheld or console gaming in the region. Japanese gamers express frustration if their payment process is redirected from the merchant’s website. Prepaid cards are most commonly used for micro transactions, whereas credit cards are used for larger payments.

Alternative Payment Methods will overcome credit cards marketshare

As we can see by analysing the markets detailed above, consumers based in different countries and regions have differing preferences when it comes to the gaming industry. Cultural peculiarities, historical factors, economic and technological progress all inform the predilection of international consumers.

However, credit card still remains the most popular payment method and will represent 42.1% of total online payments by the end of 2019, alternative payment methods will continue to improve their market position and thus overcome credit cards market share.

While online gaming continues to grow and to develop as an industry, attracting more and more gamers from all over the world, new content and new technologies will continue to be introduced. In order to encourage more consumers to utilise their products and services, gaming companies must take into account the specific characteristics of each target market, including everything from preferred devices to payment options.

About ECommPay

ECommPay is an innovative and fast thinking company that provides state of the art secure electronic payment solutions for clients worldwide. Their system is up-to-the-minute, secure, reliable and easy to connect with.

Their solutions help to achieve higher transaction approval rates, lower chargeback ratios and other special requirements which help our clients achieve maximum revenues. The ECommPay payment system uses the most innovative anti-fraud technology which, in addition, can be adapted to each client's requirements & special needs. Every ECommPay client is special so we assign a personal manager to each client, regardless of your turnover amount. The ECommPay team is made of the best professionals in online payments which in turn makes the lives of our clients much easier.

Article written and provided by ECommPay.

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