Gaming ‘chat’ at the moment seems to be dominated by the impending release of next-generation consoles, yet the most popular form of gaming is already in the hands of every smartphone owner in the world…
Mobile gaming is booming
When your console of choice is something you keep with you at all times, it’s easy to see why COVID-19 has had such a positive impact on a market with such a low barrier to entry. As people in lockdown looked for more ways to stay entertained at home, weekly downloads of mobile games across app stores hovered around 1 billion for the second straight quarter in Q3 2020, an increase of 15% year-on-year.
Despite wider industry advances in technology, graphics cards, and gaming experiences, mobile gaming has continued its sustained growth. According to app analytics and market data firm App Annie, ‘by the end of 2020, consumer spend in mobile gaming is set to extend its lead over desktop and home console gaming to more than 2.8x and 3.1x, respectively – solidifying that mobile gaming is in a league of its own.’
- On iOS, customers downloaded around 2.6 billion games in Q3 2020.
- Game downloads on Google Play grew 20% year-on-year, amounting to around 11 billion downloads in Q3 2020, accounting for nearly 8 of every 10 games downloaded across the app stores.
- Games accounted for a higher share of overall downloads on Google Play than on iOS at 45% and 30%, respectively.
App Annie noted that COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on mobile usage in general, finding that the pandemic had advanced mobile usage by 2 to 3 years – even with international rollouts of 5G having been hampered. These widespread increases in both sales and usage likely can’t be sustained as consumers begin to return to some sort of normality, but they may fall back to a much higher baseline, as the pandemic permanently changes our entertainment habits, further steeping the world in gaming culture.
What does this mean?
When online activity increases, so too does the risk of online fraud. While some video game companies, particularly those with microtransaction features, handle a significant amount of financial transactions, they are not subject to the same regulations as gambling companies. Last year an investigation by The Independent revealed how criminals have used the video game Fortnite to launder money through its in-game currency, sparking debate of whether more stringent AML regulations should be introduced to wider gaming. To stay ahead of regulators, gaming companies should add identity verification services to different points within their gaming environments, to help reduce money laundering and meet compliance standards.
The rise in mobile gaming, the profit being generated by the industry and its diverse user base demonstrate an increased risk of money laundering, especially to those who do not have the appropriate measures in place to onboard new users and perform appropriate KYC checks. As the industry continues to grow and generate vast sums of revenue, more stringent identity verification checks are more likely to be introduced to ensure players are in fact who they say they are.
Worldwide, an estimated 72% of active mobile game players are ‘millennials’ and the broader audience for mobile games includes those in parts of the world where smartphones are the primary, if not only, way people connect to the internet. Given young people have very little traditional data (or thin files) it can be tricky to onboard them. For example, the UK has over 8 million people aged 18 to 30, which means you’re potentially missing out on a high proportion of users who can’t be verified to use your platform.
Traditional checks, such as using credit history mean that many good customers are turned away. A vast number of millennials do not have CRA data so if this source is used, they are rejected. Equally in countries with thin files, where traditional data does not exist or is scarce, product offerings such as ours can be used to qualify and verify new customers.
This integrated approach helps increase pass rates in countries all over the world, verifying identities using a number of data sources, which in turn increases revenue, increases customer acquisition with real-time onboarding and creates a better customer experience.
How can we help
Hello Soda’s suite of KYC solutions can help onboard customers faster and more efficiently with more accurate results. Onboard up to 68% more customers than with traditional identity verification methods, using our single universal API, Sodium.
Book a demo today and see for yourself how powerful our suite of solutions are.