The video game industry today is larger and more sprawling than it’s ever been before. Already it encompasses everything from apps, to casino sites, to console and PC games. And that’s before one even considers emerging categories such as virtual reality. Cnet’s look at the best VR games shows that there’s already a lot going on in this space, but there’s plenty more to come as the technology is refined in the years ahead.
All of this makes for an incredible environment for players. It’s not much of an exaggeration at this point to say that gamers can play just about anything they want at the touch of a button. And accordingly, most of the games have given rise to entire communities of players. Among the things that can still improve the state of gaming though (beyond more games and newer systems), it might be smoother and more flexible methods of payment. Given the simple fact that most gaming now occurs online in one way or another, it’s incumbent upon the industry to make it as easy as possible for people to conduct digital transactions as efficiently as they want to, and in the ways they prefer.
But how would this specifically benefit gamers across the industry?
Most significant is that more flexile payment processing throughout the gaming industry would simply give gamers more ways to pay for everything — from new titles, to in-game purchases, to subscriptions and rentals from Netflix-like video game services that may be more prevalent in the future. Right now it’s easy enough for gamers to set up accounts to pay for all of these things via credit cards on file, or PayPal accounts. But a more expansive system would also embrace mobile platforms (like Apple Pay), additional payment processors, and potentially even cryptocurrency. In short, it would allow gamers to make purchases with their preferred methods, regardless of console or system.
Another potential benefit of more expansive transaction systems is that we could begin to see in-game cryptocurrency exchanges. The Fintech Times discussed cryptos in gaming and spoke to the incredible potential of this idea. First, it would make rates universal for in-game purchases, such that players all over the world could buy, say, a given Call Of Duty skin for the same flat crypto price. More significantly though, in-game crypto tokens could allow for the exchange of real, useful wealth between players. People could bet and compete with cryptocurrency, and even potentially take earned, in-game credits and spend them in the real world.
Casino gaming also stands to benefit from improved, modernised payment methods. This is something that was actually explained fairly thoroughly in a post on gaming payments by FIS Global. There, it was essentially pointed out that modern processors can allow gaming providers to accommodate a wider range of payment preferences — from all over the world — and up to 1,000 transactions per second. This sort of capability, compared to the somewhat clunky way in which a lot of online casino operators take payments right now, opens the door to a much smoother experience. Gamers would be able to play on more sites without worrying about payment compatibility, for one thing. Perhaps even more importantly though, major events such as international online poker competitions would be more accessible to players, and potentially to betting spectators as well.
The idea of betting spectators actually calls to mind our last point as well, which is that modernised payment systems could also help to turn fringe and gaming-adjacent activities into more mainstream spectator events. We have posted, for instance, a Firewall Podcast on drones in the gaming industry, suggesting a blend between real-world drone activity and VR gaming. Something like this has the potential to become a sort of hybrid sport, and could inspire significant online streaming viewership (as some drone races are already beginning to do). A simplified, universal payment processing system — welcoming a high volume of transactions and different methods — would only make it easier for people to buy access to and/or bet on events related to this sort of new-age gaming.
Overall, we’re not talking about a single jump forward, or a particular technological improvement. But looking at all these different facets of the gaming industry, it does seem clear that improved payment methods will have a role to play in taking said industry to new heights.