By Tom Lito
PayPal forecasts strong growth for the Canadian online gaming market, stating that it’s expected to generate $40 million in revenue with a CAGR of 22.7 per cent over the next 5 years.
The prediction further cements Canada’s position as the third largest gaming industry in the world. In its research conducted with SuperData Research across five markets with 25,000 active players, PayPal identified the main driver for the expected growth to be smartphones, with 66 per cent of the participants choosing it as their primary form of gaming platform. Second running is tablets at 43 per cent, followed by desktops at 40 per cent, and finally laptops at 30 per cent. On average, Canadian gamers spend $200 per year on full online games and $128 on in-game content.
With mobile gaming as the primary driver, it’s no surprise that Google Play ranks at the top as the game distribution platform of choice, with 30 per cent of gamers using it. Steam for PC and Apple’s App Store are tied at 26 per cent with the Sony PlayStation network close in tow at 25 per cent of adoption by gamers.
The research also revealed that Canadians play games 26 times per month, totaling to an average of 52 hours of play time. PC and console gamers play for 2 hours per session, while mobile gamers play for 1.5.
Shedding light on the PC vs Consoles debate: Canadians favor gaming on consoles as opposed to PCs. Gamers list consoles like the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, and Microsoft Xbox 360 as their favorite gaming devices.
A gender discrepancy can be seen in the different gaming platforms. Female players heavily dominate the mobile scene, making up 71 per cent of the mobile player base. Male players tend to be more prevalent on consoles and PCs, making up 56 per cent of the total player base. Among Women, 74 per cent play regularly on smartphones compared to only 58 per cent of men. The average age of Canadian gamers is 35 years, eight years younger than gamers in the U.S.
Celebrity factor and word-of-mouth play the biggest role in evoking a buyer’s interest in a product. In an interview, Melissa O’Malley, PayPal’s Global Initiatives Director, stated that influence from friends and family has the most impact in affecting a buyer’s decision. Gamers also place trust in critic reviews and closely follow the recommendations of their favorite game streamers.
Online streaming is another booming sector of the gaming market, benefitting both content creators and its consumers. 29 per cent of Canadian gamers who regularly watch gaming-related content use Twitch, a popular gaming-oriented streaming service. Streamers are also finding Twitch streaming to be lucrative; over half of Twitch streamers are receiving regular income from the platform. The staggering Canadian viewer base indicates immense monetization potential.
When asked what turns gamers into buyers, Melissa highlighted that convenience and speed of a transaction outweighs cost. Gamers don’t like having a slow checkout experience; they simply want to acquire what they need and resume playing.
Speed is of the essence, but presentation and the ease of payment also play a massive role in the user’s willingness to follow through with a transaction. A long, cumbersome checkout experience and lack of security negatively impact their bottom line. A well-presented checkout page with trusted brands of payment processors can boost the buyer’s confidence.
Once a purchase has been initiated, 22 per cent of gamers say that they would leave the purchase when selecting the methods of payment. Twenty per cent would quit when entering the payment details, and 18 per cent would stop when entering their credit card information.
PayPal says it processed $12 billion worth of online game purchases globally with a 23 per cent increase year-over-year.