Credit cards and their usage in mobile and online game technology is an ever-evolving topic, which has revolutionized and shaped how users consume content. Here, we will start a 12-part series discussing credit cards’ evolution in regards to their mobile and gaming usage and customer base, how people around the globe are utilizing them, and where they are going in the future.
(This weekly blog post will focus on credit cards and the mobile and gaming industries. )
To kick things off, it’s important to take a look at the ways in which credit card payments and virtual currency exchange make gaming transactions thrive. The instant accessibility of credit cards are akin to mobile devices in that they can access a broader range of content: all of a user’s credit or debit accounts, or all of a user’s apps and personal information. Today, we begin by discussing why in-game payments need to stay in-game for both downloaded and online games.
Historically, offering credit cards as a method for payment would mean implementing a transparent redirect. This gives companies the ability to collect credit card information by passing it to a core processor and never actually touch a user’s sensitive information. A web browser will pop up and take over to gather the user’s data, redirecting away from another website or an app.
(According to Swrve, “half of free-to-play games’ in-app purchases came from 0.15 percent of players”, making every in-app purchase extremely important in the gaming industry.)
This poses a problem with microtransactions and in-game purchases, however. When playing downloaded games or other online games that require such purchases, empirical data suggests players who are redirected are distracted, deterred and often purchase less or don’t complete their transactions. Throwing an extra step into the purchasing process on any device automatically adds numerous potential errors: the need to manually enter credit card information, customer’s wariness of credit card security outside trusted providers, or even the potential for technological glitches.
(Even the slightest detour from gameplay can mean a lost sale.)
When the flow of the game is broken up as well, users can be distracted from their purchases and in such a reactive, fast-paced and personal industry, that could mean a lost sale. When 46% of your game’s revenue is made on 0.22 percent of your users, on average according to a study of free-to-play games by Swrve via Re/code, every minuscule move matters. Taking your players out of the game, whether on device or not, and potentially distancing them from their content transaction could cost a sale. One way developers can work to manage this is by utilizing an outside provider who provides truly in-game payment systems. These companies can focus on security and support, freeing up game and app development teams to focus on the content and ensure seamless integration for their users.
Safely saving credit card information gives users instant access to in-game purchase satisfaction and awards developers steadier revenue and a stronger user base. Whether or not game designers build payment options in themselves or search for third party integration systems, a streamlined and truly in-game payment system is the way to go for user’s ease of use, security, and to secure sales.