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Turning British Players into Payers: Insights to Convert the Country’s 37.9 Million Gamers

Gamer payment preferences UK

As the sixth largest gaming market in the world, and with USD $4.5 billion in annual revenue, the United Kingdom presents an immense opportunity for game developers looking to drive profits. And with estimates of 40 million gamers pushing revenues above $5.5 billion by 2022, it’s imperative to understand this market and the payment preferences of its gamers.

"Turning Players into Payers - Understanding the Gaming Payments Experience for U.K. Gamers" is a study that addresses this topic by exploring the motivations, behaviors and expectations of this population.


Understanding the paying gamer

When it comes to the U.K. market, mobile has the highest share of gamers per platform, with 94 percent of gamers playing mobile games as opposed to 85 percent for PCs and consoles. Interestingly, despite being the most popular gaming platform, mobile features the lowest percentage of gamers spending at least USD $5 a month on games. Additionally, mobile also has the lowest percentage of paying gamers, with just 49 percent of these players making purchases, compared to 59 percent for PCs and 67 percent for consoles.

Mobile may have the highest number of overall players, but they are also the hardest to convert.

Paying gamers are also far more likely than non-paying gamers to compete in tournaments and continue playing games that offer loyalty/rewards programs. Game developers adding these competitive elements and rewards programs will be well positioned to attract these spenders.

If we look by gender, men – especially those in the millennial age bracket – comprise two-thirds of the spending audience. Both men and women are more likely to spend on consoles and PCs than on mobile games, but men represent a larger percentage of payers for these gaming platforms.


What are U.K. gamers buying… and what motivates them to pay?

U.K. gamers are driven to spend in different ways. The most often cited reason for spending on any game is to “enjoy myself more with the game.” This is followed by it being either a gift for themselves, or an in-game purchase made through a gift card. Women overwhelmingly prefer power-ups when making in-game purchases, while men prefer DLC/expansion packs. Power-ups and DLC/expansion packs are the top two purchases made by both men and women, followed by playable characters.

For older gamers, those aged 30-40, 51 percent say they buy boxed/disc games, which is an 8 percent increase over gamers aged 18-29. This is not surprising, as most young gamers prefer mobile and digital games.

Regarding those who do not spend money on games, 40 percent say it’s because they are satisfied with the free experience. This presents a unique challenge for developers, especially in the mobile market where most games are free to play. Game makers must find new and exciting ways to add value to games that naturally make gamers want to spend. Attempting to overtly drive conversions will most likely have the opposite effect.

Lastly, the payments experience itself also influences gamers’ payment behaviors. 35 percent of U.K. gamers have had a negative experience when paying online, while 18 percent have experienced fraud when paying for games. If game developers are unable to provide a simple, seamless and safe payments experience, gamers will simply continue playing the free version or switch to new games.


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