Voice of the Industry

Why many gamers are not paying to play, and what would change that

Monday 26 September 2022 09:00 CET | Editor: Raluca Ochiana | Voice of the industry

With tens of millions of online gamers served poorly by current payment options, Delphine Bos from Aplauz shares advice on how to reach them.


Among online gaming companies, the competition for attracting, retaining, and monetising players is an ever-growing challenge. Many gaming companies now take quite sophisticated approaches to their monetisation strategies in order to maintain their edge, including different combinations of subscriptions, ads, in-game purchases, virtual currencies, and so on. And in addition to these advanced monetisation strategies, many have also implemented seamless ways for players to pay, such as subscriptions or one-click payments. These approaches to monetising games and ensuring players can easily pay are often very successful. 

However, not all gamers are the same. In fact, there are a number of very valuable demographics that are not well served by these complex monetisation strategies and seamless payment options. In this post, we are going to take a look at some of these groups, discuss why they are not well served by current approaches, and take a look at what you can do from a payments perspective to build trust, convert, and retain them. 

1. Gamers under 18 - and their parents

Europe has around 70 million children under the age of 15, and according to soon-to-be-published research commissioned by Aplauz and conducted in June 2022 by independent agency Glocalities, over three-quarters of European children at home play games online, of which two-thirds (around 35-40 million) spend money on online gaming. But to pay for an online game, children need:

  • Their parents’ permission. 
  • Their parents’ physical action to fish out their card or use their digital wallet to make the transaction.  

Moreover, many parents are understandably reluctant to pay for subscriptions for games that their children may not play often. Hidden here is a huge opportunity to take a smarter approach to monetise the massive demographic of gamers in a way that is transparent, fair, and sustainable. 

2. Gamers on a budget

Almost 100 million people across 21 European countries do not have enough savings in their bank accounts to meet two months of basic living expenses. For this massive demographic, the risk of blowing through their monthly expense budget or encountering an expense that causes financial distress is constant. 

No one wants to charge financially at-risk players to the point where they struggle to pay living expenses such as utility bills. But equally, gaming is a valued recreational activity for many people. Striking the right balance between being transparent and fair with monetisation and payment strategies can pay huge dividends in terms of conversion, retention, and upsell for this demographic. In fact, our soon-to-be-released research suggests that a majority of budget-conscious players would be willing to increase subscriptions if they had more control over the payment side of things. 

3. Gamers who are privacy-conscious 

This demographic is actually very active online, and even more likely than average to play online games. However, they have a range of concerns around privacy, including:

  • In-game tracking activity; 
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII) being stolen and misused; 
  • Payment fraud;  
  • Others.

Those concerned with privacy are more likely to have already been scammed or received unwanted charges. 

While exact figures are hard to come by to put a number on this demographic, some studies suggest that around one-fifth of people consider themselves ‘very concerned’ about online privacy, and have not made purchases where they consider their privacy at risk. Once again, current approaches to monetisation and payments do not serve this demographic well. 

Introducing Aplauz: a privacy-oriented payment method that puts the control in the hands of gamers

While sophisticated monetisation strategies and seamless payments are good for many players, there are tens of millions of European gamers who are not well served by such approaches, and gaming companies are missing out on revenue as a result. 

When we look at the above demographics, a few key themes emerge - keeping control of spending, protecting privacy, and paying securely among them, and this is where a payment method centred on these themes, such as Aplauz, can play a powerful role in monetising and retaining online gamers. 

Aplauz is a prepaid voucher that you can buy in-store or online, that holds a digital credit value chosen by the customer. While paying with Aplauz, only the value of the voucher can be spent, making it impossible to go over budget, and the user is protected from misuse or fraud because the voucher holds no personal data. 

What this means for under 18, budget, and privacy-conscious gamers

The concept of a prepaid voucher is quite straightforward, but the benefits are enormous. Let’s take a look at each demographic one by one. 

Gamers under 18 - and their parents

Teaching children how to manage digital money is more complicated than cash, since there is no tangible feel to it, and most children and younger teens don’t have the tools or means to make their own online purchases. 

With Aplauz, parents can simultaneously achieve two goals: 

  1. Limit the money that their children spend on things they are not using. For example, if a subscription expires on a game they regularly play, a child will definitely ask their parents to continue playing. But since there is a limit on an Aplauz voucher, a set-and-forget approach such as with a Netflix or Spotify subscription is impossible. 
  2. Give their children a safe way to learn how to manage digital money. If a child has a limited amount of money on their voucher, they will need to consider how to spend it wisely according to a budget - an important life lesson in the age of digital money. 

Gamers on a budget 

Subscription fatigue is a real and growing problem, as is impulse buying of non-essential goods. Whereas in the past people may have set aside a specific amount of cash for non-essential items each month, with Aplauz they can set aside a gaming budget that is impossible to break - a win for the gamer, and ultimately a win for the gaming companies who offer it as they benefit from the greater trust and long-lasting relationships. 

Gamers who are privacy conscious

There is no PII attached to an Aplauz voucher, and no way it can be used for fraud unless the physical voucher details are stolen from the gamer - and even then, the loss is limited only to the value of the voucher. This makes it a very attractive payment method for the 20 percent of people who consider themselves highly concerned about online privacy. 

A smarter approach to converting casual gamers into paying customers is here

According to Aplauz’s soon-to-be-released research, over 40 percent of gamers would spend more to play or buy more in-game content if they would use a safe prepaid payment method. At scale, this represents a huge opportunity for gaming companies to increase revenue, build trust, and develop more sustainable relationships with their customers. 

To find out more about Aplauz and how it can help you, contact us. 





About Delphine Bos

Delphine Bos is CMO at Aplauz. Marketing Strategist with over 20 years of experience in the payment industry, she has been leading the brand development and marketing of high-profile global Fintech companies such as Adyen, GlobalCollect, or SafeCharge, and specialises in advising B2B tech companies.



About Aplauz

Aplauz is a prepaid method that enables conscious online spending. Customers can buy Aplauz with a value of their choice at a convenience store. Paying with Aplauz enables them to protect their data, privacy, and budget.

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Keywords: online payments, monetisation, online gaming, data privacy, Aplauz, payment methods
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: aplauz.com
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce


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