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Turning U.S. Players into Payers: Driving Conversions in a $30 Billion Market

Turning Players into Payers USA

It’s no secret that Americans love their games. In 2018, it was estimated that 178.7 million players spent more than USD $30.4 billion on games, a $5 billion increase over 2017. That $30 billion represents almost a quarter of the global gaming market, making the U.S. an invaluable target for game developers.

To gain a better understanding of the gamers who are fueling this lucrative market, ACI Worldwide and Newzoo conducted extensive consumer research centered around payment motivations, behaviors and preferences, published in the study “Turning Players Into Payers.”

 

Understanding the paying gamer

When it comes to gaming platforms, Americans love mobile gaming (95%), with PC (87%) and console (85%) gaming following closely behind. Considering the U.S. accounts for 252 million of the world’s active smartphone users, trailing only China and India, the opportunity presented for game developers is both sizeable and growing. Consoles have a higher player/payer ratio than either PC or mobile, and consoles also feature the highest percentage of average to big spenders (spending at least $5 per month), across both young and older payers.

Focusing on paying gamers, two-thirds are men with the bulk aged 26-35. Across all three gaming platforms, men are more likely to be paying gamers than women, with consoles being the most popular device for paid gameplay across both genders. Unsurprisingly, paying gamers tend to be more competitive than their non-paying counterparts, with 20 percent more saying they compete in online or offline tournaments. 73 percent of paying gamers are more likely to keep playing a game if it offers a loyalty/reward program, 12 percent higher than non-payers. Adding competitive elements or reward programs to your game can help attract these profitable players.

 

What are gamers buying and what motivates them to pay?

American gamers are similar to their U.K. and German gaming contemporaries in that they are most likely to spend their budget on digital and DLC content. In terms of in-game purchases, power-ups are by far the most popular purchase for American women, while DLC/expansion packs are the most popular choice for American men. Americans as a whole also spend more on mobile in-game purchases as compared to U.K. and German gamers.

For non-payers, the reason most often cited for not making purchases is that they are satisfied with the free experience. Solving for this challenge is quite difficult, as game developers must find new ways to add value to the in-game experience, without ruining it and potentially alienating the audience.

Of course, the payment experiences themselves also affect gamers’ willingness to pay. 39 percent of Americans cited trust as the reason for choosing their preferred payment method. Unsurprisingly, one-third of these paying gamers say fraud concerns make them less likely to spend within a game.

 

To learn more about these findings and find deeper insights into payment types and preferences, access the full report, “Turning Players into Payers.”