Game Development Reference
so on—are easy, and fraud is more manageable. This is why we're seeing big investments from web-based pay-
ment services, banks, and credit card issuers in prepaid and mobile payment solutions.”
In contrast to mobile, credit cards tend to be a more popular payment option in the United States (and parts of
Europe and Asia), but are not generally common on a global scale: “[C]redit cards are the most vulnerable in
overall market share worldwide,” as Pidgeon puts it, “because not everyone has a credit card, fraud is very high
in this category, and security is an issue for consumers.” Even in the United States, in a 2009 Rasmussen survey,
nearly half of American shoppers reported that they are still wary of using credit cards online.
PayPal, another popular online payment option, gives users a number of options for “filling up” the amount
of money they can spend in that service via bank transfer, credit card, and prepaid card. At the end of 2011,
PayPal counted 100 million registered users—a large audience, but based on general Internet activity, it's likely
that only a fraction of that user base uses the service to regularly pay for online games.
Monetization Advice for Indie Developers
Although developers with a large player base will probably want to go with a third-party service provider (see
the Vindicia CashBox profile earlier in this chapter), that option likely won't be feasible for smaller/indie deve-
lopers. For them in particular, M2's Billy Pidgeon has the following advice.
Go with Name-Brand Payment Option(s)
Pidgeon recommends that you use a service layer with a name, such as PayPal, Visa, or possibly Digital River,
to increase gamers' comfort zone with a recognizable name. The more trust users have with your payment op-
tion, the more likely they will be to buy.
Offer Multiple Payment Options and Multiple Revenue
“Friction is always the primary issue with monetization,” says Pidgeon. “If gamers want to pay, any barriers to
payments such as time, filling out forms, going to secondary sites, and so on are going to be very significant.
For this reason, indie developers and micro-publishers should offer any and all payment solutions their custom-
ers might want, and they should troubleshoot payment procedures to make sure these are easy and comfortable
for all their customers.
NOTE “The payment experience is easily as important as the initial play session, and the same issues are in-
volved. Is it clear and understandable? Is it easy? Is it comfortable? Is it satisfying?” says Billy Pidgeon of
Independent developers should apply as much creativity to monetization methods and structures as they do to game design for a successful