Payments in Games: How to Improve?

IAP in a mobile game.

Based on the experience and WorldPay market research, Xsolla talks about the necessity of payments for successful digital projects. Regional preferences remain one of the most important factors that determine the financial achievements of a game.

Over the past 40 years, financial metrics of interactive entertainment industry increased significantly. It’s $ 70-billion market, which continues increasing year by year today.

According to The NPD Group, during the first quarter of 2013 the Americans spent $ 1.59 billion on digital content (including downloadable, mobile and social games, add-ons and subscriptions). F2P market remains one of the most profitable segments of interactive entertainments though. However, statistics show a negligible amount of paying gamers brings more than a half of the income for F2P. Other users prefer playing for free.

Many developers, publishers and digital stores don’t keep up with the industry of electronic payments which evolves rapidly. They are not able to provide a user with all the possibilities for online payments. Errors, mismatched payment methods, poor support, ill-assorted content — all these factors have a negative impact on payments.


Last year WorldPay published a large report «The Video Games Payment Preferences», which covers the issues of digital payments. WorldPay figured out how users pay and what causes the most problems. 7554 gamers were involved in the study. In general, video games for smartphones and tablets cover approximately 49% of the in-game content total sales. Online games follow then (40%). However, the statistics change in different regions. For example, in the UK console games were in favour (26%). China often buy content in MMO-games (45%).

Payment Preferences

From one region to another not only the demand for content changes but also the preferences in payment methods.

Cards and e-wallets

Credit and debit cards are widely used throughout the world (47%). However, alternative payment methods (e-wallets) are gaining more and more popularity and are used in 51% of game purchases. WorldPay specialists specified e-wallets are widely demanded in Russia and China. Xsolla can confirm this information by the statistics. Most commonly such payment methods are used to buy game modifications and add-ons.

Information storage

Choice of a relevant payment method is closely linked with convenience. 72% of WorldPay respondents want to keep billing information for quick transactions. 80% tend to use one and the same payment method for different purchases and content.


The choice of a payment method is directly connected with the security information. Users are concerned about the security of their personal data. Ironically, in the case of e-wallets only 26% of respondents expressed concerns about the safety. The percentage of doubts is much higher among cardholders (35%).


When making payments users constantly face numerous challenges. In most cases difficulties arise in Brazil. According to WorldPay, users from this region say in 50% of cases they face additional payments, which are not originally placed in a bill. As a rule, if a user faces such a glitch, he refuses to complete a purchase.


To reduce potential losses games should offer the maximum number of payment options, as well as minimize the hidden costs which arise during the final calculation. Taking into consideration the multi-platform market it’s necessary to combine traditional and alternative payment methods. Publishers should pay special attention to pricing: cost is formed considering the average income of a country population and a specific audience. Xsolla already examined and analyzed all these aspects to offer advanced payment solutions for different regions.

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