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Mobile Transforms the Way Gamers Play and Pay, with 73 Percent of Players Shifting Between All Gaming Platforms

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Mobile Transforms the Way Gamers Play and Pay, with 73 Percent of Players Shifting Between All Gaming Platforms
  • Global games market is booming, with 77 percent of UK players regularly spending money on online games
  • Payment fraud is a top concern for players, with one in five having experienced fraud while paying for or in games online
  • Grand Theft Auto most popular franchise in UK, while Mario is preferred franchise in the US and Germany

London, UK –  Modern gamers are not loyal to one gaming platform, with 73 percent of gamers regularly switching between mobile, console and PC, according to a new report, How To Turn Players Into Payers: Understanding the Gaming Payments Experience, published by ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW) and Newzoo. The study surveyed more than 2,000 gamers in the UK, US and Germany.

While mobile remains the most popular platform with 95 percent of respondents playing mobile titles regularly, and with over a third (33 percent) playing on their mobile phones for more than 6 hours a week, many publishers are catering to the new trend of ‘cross-platform gameplay’ by releasing and optimizing titles for each platform.

When it comes to the most popular franchises, Grand Theft Auto comes out top in the UK (36 percent), while Mario is the preferred game in the US (38 percent) and Germany (26 percent). Newcomer Fortnite is increasingly popular in the US (26 percent), demonstrating the growing appeal of cross-platform gameplay and fueling an already booming market.

“The global gaming market is expected to reach USD $137.9 billion in 2018; however, it remains a challenging environment in which to engage and convert players. 40 percent of non-paying gamers do not spend on games because the free gaming experience is satisfactory, showing there is further scope to monetize gameplay and generate revenues,” commented Andy McDonald, vice president, merchant payments, ACI Worldwide. “The research also reveals that fraud is a top concern for online players, an issue developers and businesses urgently need to address.”

Why and how gamers spend money:

  • 77 percent of gamers in the UK spend money on games (78 in the US, 70 in Germany)
  • 39 percent of respondents said that their main motivation to spend money in or on a game is enjoyment
  • 68 percent of paying gamers say they are likely to spend more money if there is a loyalty or a rewards programme

Fraud is a major concern

  • 19 percent have experienced fraud when paying for games online, while one-third of gamers are less likely to spend within a game due to fraud concerns
  • Despite fraud concerns, 44 percent of paying gamers in the US believe additional security measures for in-game purchases negatively impact the gaming experience (36%in the UK and 19 percent in Germany)
  • 44 percent of paying gamers believe the in-game payment experience can be improved, with one-third of gamers frustrated by slow payment processes, and more than one-quarter encountering confusing payment processes

Platform is a key consideration for payments

  • 62 percent of PC/Console players spend their money on digital downloads; 46 percent on boxed or disc games
  • US gamers are far more likely to pay on mobile (60%) compared to gamers in other countries surveyed (49 and 43% in UK and Germany, respectively
  • 78 percent of US gamers who have spent money on mobile have done so for in-game purchases, compared to only 65 percent in the UK and Germany

Alternative payments becoming more prevalent

  • PayPal is the preferred and most used payment method across all markets surveyed, on every platform
  • Over 40 percent said they view new payment methods ApplePay and GooglePay positively; 23 percent expressed a positive attitude towards cryptocurrency, indicating potential growth as mainstream acceptance and accessibility increases
  • 38 percent of respondents said trust is the biggest reason they use their particular online payment methods

Gender, geography and age impact spending and gaming choices

  • In the US, men are more likely spend money on games than women; 76 percent vs 60 percent on console games, 70 percent vs 54 percent on desktop
  • Gamers aged 30-40 are most likely to spend on power-ups, while the younger demographic (18-30) favors DLC/expansion packs as paid add-ons

“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,” McDonald continued. “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.”

“Understanding nuances in gamers’ paying habits and preferences can help publishers and developers craft top-quality, custom experiences for gamers,” said Sander Bosman, vice president – research, Newzoo. “But with variations across geographies, age and gender – not to mention differences between mobile, desktop and console gaming – there are multiple factors to be considered. This report provides much needed insights that help understand the paying gamer; what motivates them to pay and what is needed to deliver a superior gaming experience as the boundaries between platforms continue to blur.”

To read the full report visit: www.aciworldwide.com/lp/payments-in-gaming

Methodology:

This research project was conducted to explore paying behavior, payment preferences, and the payment experience among gamers to gather insights into the most effective ways to optimize payments conversions in games. 2,051 gamers (playing at least two hours per week on any platform) were surveyed, across the U.S., U.K. and Germany. Respondents were aged 18-40 and are nationally representative of the gamer group. Computer-assisted web-interviewing (CAWI) was utilized to “invitation only” respondents over a period of two weeks, including two weekends for a balanced sample (May 2-14, 2018). Average length per respondent: 15-17 minutes.

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Facebook ‘refriends’ Australia after changes to media laws

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Facebook 'refriends' Australia after changes to media laws 1

By Byron Kaye and Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Facebook will restore Australian news pages, ending an unprecedented week-long blackout after wringing concessions from the government over a proposed law that will require tech giants to pay traditional media companies for their content.

Both sides claimed victory in the clash, which has drawn global attention as countries including Canada and Britain consider similar steps to rein in the dominant tech platforms and preserve media diversity.

While some analysts said Facebook had defended its lucrative model of collecting ad money for clicks on news it shows, others said the compromise – which includes a deal on how to resolve disputes – could pay off for the media industry, or at least for publishers with reach and political clout.

“Facebook has scored a big win,” said independent British technology analyst Richard Windsor, adding the concessions it made “virtually guarantee that it will be business as usual from here on.”

Australia and the social media group had been locked in a standoff after the government introduced legislation that challenged Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google’s dominance in the news content market.

Facebook blocked Australian users on Feb. 17 from sharing and viewing news content on its popular social media platform, drawing criticism from publishers and the government.

But after talks between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a concession deal was struck, with Australian news expected to return to the social media site in coming days.

“Facebook has refriended Australia, and Australian news will be restored to the Facebook platform,” Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra.

Frydenberg said Australia had been a “proxy battle for the world” as other jurisdictions engage with tech companies over a range of issues around news and content.

Australia will offer four amendments, which include a change to the proposed mandatory arbitration mechanism used when the tech giants cannot reach a deal with publishers over fair payment for displaying news content.

‘UNTESTED’

Facebook said it was satisfied with the revisions, which will need to be implemented in legislation currently before the parliament.

“Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation,” Facebook Vice President of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown said in a statement online.

The company would continue to invest in news globally but also “resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook.”

Analysts said while the concessions marked some progress for tech platforms, the government and the media, there remained many uncertainties about how the law would work.

“Retaining unilateral control over which publishers they do cash deals with as well as control over if and how news appears on Facebook surely looks more attractive to Menlo Park than the alternative,” said Rasmus Nielsen, head of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, referring to Facebook headquarters.

Any deals that Facebook strikes are likely to benefit the bottom line of News Corp and a few other big Australian publishers, added Nielsen, but whether smaller outlets win such deals remains to be seen.

Tama Leaver, professor of internet studies at Australia’s Curtin University, said Facebook’s negotiating tactics had dented its reputation, although it was too early to say how the proposed law would work.

“It’s like a gun that sits in the Treasurer’s desk that hasn’t been used or tested,” said Leaver.

COOLING-OFF PERIOD

The amendments include an additional two-month mediation period before the government-appointed arbitrator intervenes, giving the parties more time to reach a private deal.

It also inserts a rule that an internet company’s existing media deals be taken into account before the rules take effect, a measure that Frydenberg said would encourage internet companies to strike deals with smaller outlets.

The so-called Media Bargaining Code has been designed by the government and competition regulator to address a power imbalance between the social media giants and publishers when negotiating payment for news content used on the tech firms’ sites.

Media companies have argued that they should be compensated for the links that drive audiences, and advertising dollars, to the internet companies’ platforms.

A spokesman for Australian publisher and broadcaster Nine Entertainment Co Ltd welcomed the government’s compromise, which it said moved “Facebook back into the negotiations with Australian media organisations.”

Major television broadcaster and newspaper publisher Seven West Media Ltd said it had signed a letter of intent to strike a content supply deal with Facebook within 60 days.

A representative of News Corp, which has a major presence in Australia’s news industry and last week announced a global licensing deal with Google, was not immediately available for comment.

Frydenberg said Google had welcomed the changes. A Google spokesman declined to comment.

Google also previously threatened to withdraw its search engine from Australia but later struck a series of deals with publishers.

The government will introduce the amendments to Australia’s parliament on Tuesday, Frydenberg said. The country’s two houses of parliament will need to approve the amended proposal before it becomes law.

(Reporting by Colin Packham and Byron Kaye; additional reporting by Renju Jose, Kate Holton and Douglas Busvine; Writing by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Sam Holmes and Mark Potter)

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart 2

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Tuesday, underpinned by the likely easing of COVID-19 lockdowns around the world, positive economic forecasts and lower output as U.S. supplies were slow to return after a deep freeze in Texas shut down crude production.

Brent crude was up 36 cents, or 0.5%, at $65.60 a barrel by 1212 GMT, and U.S. crude rose 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $62.09 a barrel.

Both contracts rose more than $1 earlier in the session.

“Vaccine news is helping oil, as the likely removal of mobility restrictions over the coming months on the back of vaccine rollouts should further boost the oil demand and price recovery,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said optimistic oil price forecasts issued by leading U.S. brokers had also contributed to the latest upswing in prices.

Goldman Sachs expects Brent prices to reach $70 per barrel in the second quarter from the $60 it predicted previously, and $75 in the third quarter from $65 forecast earlier.

Morgan Stanley expects Brent crude to climb to $70 in the third quarter.

“New COVID-19 cases are falling fast globally, mobility statistics are bottoming out and are starting to improve, and in non-OECD countries, refineries are already running as hard as before COVID-19,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Bank of America said Brent prices could temporarily spike to $70 per barrel in the second quarter.

Disruptions in Texas caused by last week’s winter storm also supported oil prices. Some U.S. shale producers forecast lower oil output in the first quarter.

Stockpiles of U.S. crude oil and refined products likely declined last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

A weaker dollar also provided some support to oil as crude prices tend to move inversely to the U.S. currency.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; editing by David Evans and John Stonestreet)

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s trade deal with Japan settled the nerves of a lot of Japanese businesses in the United Kingdom and gives them confidence about their future prospects there, a senior Honda executive said on Tuesday.

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, has since the 1980s made the United Kingdom its favoured European destination for investment, with the likes of Nissan, Toyota and Honda using the country as a launchpad into Europe.

But Britain’s shock 2016 decision to leave the European Union had prompted Japan to express unusually strong public concerns. Their companies and investors warned that a disorderly exit from the EU would force them to rethink their four-decade bet on Britain.

“We welcome very much the Japanese trade agreement which as a Japanese businesses was very welcomed,” Ian Howells, senior vice president at Honda Motor Europe, told a parliamentary committee.

“On the point around confidence, that certainly amongst my peers in Japanese companies was very much welcomed, and probably settled a lot of nerves in terms of their trading prospects in the UK going forward.”

Britain and Japan formally signed a trade agreement in October, marking Britain’s first big post-Brexit deal on trade. It has also made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Japan is also a member.

(Reporting by Kate Holton)

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