White Nights Berlin 2019 Takeaways

Having returned from the White Nights video gaming conference held in Berlin in February of 2019, the Maxpay Team is happy to share our impressions and takeaways from where creativity and business of video games mixed.

At the conference, Maxpay has joined our business partner Genome’s exhibitor booth. We helped witness Genome’s Beta release of the global financial ecosystems for businesses and individuals, as well as our anti-fraud partner Covery.

“As a payment service provider with expertise in solving industry-specific challenges of niche businesses, I found that Maxpay has a lot to offer to independent game developers, white label studios, publishers and the gaming marketplaces to move the industry’s evolution further,” said Vasiliy Mayor, Maxpay’s Chief Commercial Officer. “We’re really lucky to be a part of this growing business and excited to share our team’s insights gained from our current and potential customers and partners,” he added.

Without delay, here are some of the key themes from over 1300 game industry professionals at White Nights conference this Winter.

Taking Payments Inhouse

It’s no secret that developing games is a resource-intensive endeavor, or simply put, games are hugely expensive to make, and this reality is set to intensify. This is why publishers and game developers are now thinking twice about paying around 30% of their revenue to platforms and relying just on them for all of their community management, support, and marketing.

With leading video game hosting platforms like Steam being challenged by lower-cost competition like the Epic Games marketplace, going independent with distribution becomes a smart and cost-effective way to publish and own the customer relationship. Indie studios such as the aptly named Alternativa are confidently going the direct-to-customer route with their MMORPG billing, an approach that may not remain “alternative” for very long. For Maxpay this is great news, especially as game developers pick and choose payment providers that work best for their own payment processing solution, as opposed to using a third party service forced down onto them by default.

Playing Games as a Job

Talk about a fun industry! Online gaming streaming is becoming the equivalent of sports media, helping gamers who are skilled at storytelling earn by broadcasting their game playing and commentary over platforms like the Amazon’s acquisition Twitch and independent businesses like Loots. Maxpay’s partner for regular payouts Genome had previously identified online gaming’s evolution from a simple model of end games paying for the game they play to a complex gaming ecosystem with a large number of participant-makers.

No More Platform Battles

Gone are the console days when competing hardware makers fought for exclusive rights to host games, from blockbusters to a full catalog in all popular categories. Today, popular game titles have game versions on every platform, and platform-savvy publishers like Herocraft are a real game changer as a white label solution provider for such game extensions. For many years releasing game extensions (DLCs) has been a reliable source of revenue for game dev studios, but now game versions on multiple platforms for existing popular properties are a real win-win for both the game studios and the gamers.  

Identifying and Solving Friendly Fraud in Gaming

One area that deserves more attention is addressing the pressure to purchase: as more kids play online the chances of them accidentally spending money online also rises. According to a report by the UK regulator OFCOM, parents are increasingly worried about the way games target children to make money. In finance-speak, this is called “friendly fraud” and means that while the payment method is legitimate and the buyer is someone from the family, they do not necessarily have the permission for this specific transaction.

A sure way to address friendly fraud is to remove all in-app purchases from games aimed at kids, an approach favored by Nikolai Veselov of MyRealGames, with whom Maxpay spoke. Yet adults who play games also share their portable devices with kids, and for cases like that Maxpay offers a built-in solution for platforms and publishers that enables risk managers and the anti-fraud departments spot and prevent unwanted in-app purchases.

Expertise and Specialization

When it comes to the business of video games we are now seeing the evolution of the digital game store ecosystem, with experienced players who have been making games for adults only for over a decade like Nutaku upgrading to being publishers and sharing expertise with the smaller development teams in their niche. As if making games wasn’t draining enough for game developers, working with the press, the streamers, curating the community spaces, localizing, offering support, accepting payments are only part of what publishers do.

More and more customers are willing to pay for games, but the expectations of great customer service across multiple channels is also increasing. At Maxpay, we were excited to share our expertise as well, discussing additional options for accepting payments via credit cards, alternative local payment methods to serve a growing global customer base.

The Business of Video Games at White Nights Berlin ‘19

From helping iGaming marketplace upstarts accept payments in a variety of currencies and payment methods worldwide to subscription billing for MMORPGs to powering revenue sharing programs for streaming to detecting and preventing fraud, Maxpay had a lot of ammo to fight today’s and tomorrow’s challenges facing the video game industry. Our team was happy to share our insights about increasing revenue and decreasing payment processing costs for the industry players, and we look forward to working with our new customers and partners who are passionate about the business of gaming.

 

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