Yuval Ziv, COO of SafeCharge, a leader in advanced payment technologies discusses trends in payment technology for casual games.
The way people play, and pay for games, is rapidly changing, as technology advances. Games that were traditionally played on consoles are now moving towards browsers and mobile devices. Many new game developers are uploading to the Cloud, and developing games purely for the mobile market and social sites. Social content is also rapidly changing and developing to fit also the mobile devices experience.
Gamers like to be able to download games for free, with payment only starting in order to access certain characters/additional features/higher levels within a game. New methods of payments are also being developed in order to fit the needs of mobile gamers, including alternative payment methods such as promotions, coins and more.
Audiences have changed. Die-hard gamers and teenage males who used consoles have been joined by a much wider mobile audience, including more women and children, many brought to the phenomena by casual and social games such as Candy Crush. When payments managers are asked about their primary audiences, they now mention women between 30 and 40 years old in addition to the traditional gamers.
As games develop and change, then so must the payment methods. Payment methods need to be consistently better and safer to make the payment process quick and easy for both players and merchants and seamless for the players. Flexibility and ease of use with solid security measures in place are key for consumers.
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So what is the difference between the mobile/web browser and an app for payments?
Both are available on the mobile and both of them have similar definitions – both are capable of offering almost the same playing experience to the user. The app is something that needs to be downloaded in order to use it. The mobile browser doesn’t need to be downloaded and is used via the web interface.
The move to mobile games and the growth of apps is continuing. The possibilities of anytime, anywhere playing of your favourite game are very appealing however can an app offer the best payment solution or does a web view payment option ultimately offer more flexibility and more security for gamers and merchants?
Although apps are seen as the future by many, there are still obvious advantages to a web view payment solution:
- A mobile site has better customisation flexibility. If any changes are made, e.g. adding of payment methods or updating a feature, it is very user-friendly as the merchant does not have to do anything as it is all updated automatically.
- With an app, the user has to do all the updating, and these updates must first be approved by, and uploaded by the manufacturer to the Google App store or Apple App Store. This can take time as changes have to be checked thoroughly and only once approved can they be implemented. The updates then have to be downloaded by the user, which does not always happen.
- Vital security updates could be delayed with an app but would happen automatically with a mobile site as the games manufacturer is in charge of the website.
- A mobile site is available across multiple digital platforms, such as tablets, mobiles etc. and is a cheaper option for the gamer, since the major app vendors take a sizeable percentage of the games manufacturer’s revenue.
An app is often the best option for high performance games as it provides more functionality and speed, for example if the camera feature is needed for a game. It can also be more secure, for example with the use of tokenisation and/or biometrics. The web browser is compatible with more devices, and is cheaper for the manufacturer to implement as it is not making commission payments to the app stores. A mobile site is also cheaper to develop than an app and also can support more payment methods, such as alternative payment methods and multiple currencies.
A games manufacturer should use a payment provider who is capable of supporting both apps and browser versions to make sure that they get the optimum product support. Sometimes it is best to use a web browser to begin with and then move to an app as the game becomes more sophisticated.
SafeCharge offers solutions for iOS and Android: the Android SDK and the new solution “Web View” which is like an IFrame for mobile Apps – both for Android and iOS.