Cellpoint Digital’s Kristian Gjerding

Cellpoint Digital’s Kristian Gjerding

CellPoint Digital provides a payment orchestration platform for gaming merchants that deal with multiple currencies, global audiences and for those that need subscription based payments all in one platform. We speak with Kristian Gjerding, CEO of Cellpoint Digital about how this technology fit the gaming space.

Here’s what Kristian Gjerding had to say.

How did CellPoint get involved in the game-tech space?

In 2007 we recognised that travel companies were deeply constrained by their legacy core systems. In response we created a unique Payment Orchestration platform to integrate advanced payment capability, which was quickly taken up by airlines and other travel businesses.

We’ve taken what we learnt in the airline industry and applied it to a range of other verticals, including gaming.

The gaming industry presents a great opportunity as an industry tipped to reach a value of $321 billion by 2026. But despite the innovation that takes place in the sector, the player payment journey has been neglected, and we’re excited to be leading the way in that space.

The platform provides quick and easy implementation and orchestration of hundreds of payment methods, acquirers, PSPs and aggregators, all through a single platform. For gaming clients, this addresses a range of pain points and helps them create a seamless payment experience for players.

With the rise in subscription-based games and payments in gaming, where do you see this area going?

Gartner predicts 75% of companies selling direct to consumers will offer subscription services by 2023, and I see no reason the gaming industry will be an exception to this trend.

The problem is that setting up subscription billing across multiple acquirers can be complex and costly.

To streamline and simplify the process for gaming merchants, and ensure a seamless experience for gamers, we offer a subscription management service which links off-the-shelf and custom solutions to create a maximised subscription billing platform.

This can give gaming merchants the edge in the high growth subscription market, which is undoubtedly the fastest way to drive higher customer retention, better engagement, and more predictable revenue streams.

What challenges are you seeing happening for gaming e-tailers?

The gaming sector is an ever-evolving landscape in which there are more ways to play – and pay – than ever before. As a result, customer expectations are high and the pressure is on e-tailers to meet them.

Integrating the range of alternative payment methods (APMs) now used by gamers is certainly one of the biggest challenges, as it’s an incredibly time-consuming process. But it’s also essential. According to some studies, more than 70% of digital customers use APMs.

With a responsive payment platform like Velocity, gamers can make payments how and where they want. In fact, our Payment Orchestration Platform gives merchants the choice of 168 (and counting) alternative payment methods configured to meet gamers’ needs.

What should gaming e-tailers consider when thinking about accepting multiple currencies from players based around the world?

In our increasingly global economy it’s not enough to simply display prices in local currencies, gamers need to be able to pay using that currency.

Our platform utilizes multi-currency solutions that allow gamers to pay in their preferred card or non-card currency, as well as price the product or service in their preferred payment currency. By offering gamers the ability to switch from the pricing currency to their preferred payment currency, the ‘path-to-payment’ can see increased browse-to-buy conversion rates of up to 20% and increased average transaction values of around 8%.

With security and fraud being a huge factor, how can gaming e-tailers protect their consumers?

Fighting fraud in gaming is a tricky balancing act of preventing fraudulent transactions without stopping legitimate ones.

The best protection is advanced fraud prevention solutions enabled by Payment Orchestration. Transactions can be analysed in less than a second, evaluating data from current and past transactions to see if they are genuine or fraudulent.

We use the latest fraud management technology and data from 141 billion+ transactions to help global social gaming companies increase acceptance rates, lower review rates, and boost their bottom line.

How rapidly has the gaming market changed over the last 5 years?

In terms of growth, it has changed very quickly. But payments technology in the gaming space still lags behind other sectors. While retailers who sell video games offer a wide range of alternative payment methods (APMs) and can manage cross-border payments, the direct platforms for purchasing video games vary in terms of the options available.

According to Statista, there will be three billion video gamers by 2023, and many of them will be using APMs.

It’s so important for merchants to understand which payment methods are used in different types of gaming and how they vary between regions to ensure payment doesn’t interfere with play and supports the immersive player experience.

Did the pandemic affect the industry at all?

The pandemic has shifted behaviours and the role of home entertainment and games themselves.

Spring usually shows a dip in activity for PC and desktop gaming, with daily active users dropping on average 5%. With COVID-19 conditions keeping many at home, the difference in 2020 was stark, with a 41% increase compared to the 2019 baseline.

Mobile platforms also saw growth compared to 2019, as audiences who don’t normally play games found themselves looking for new forms of entertainment. Almost everyone these days has a smartphone, so more people than ever are turning their phone into a gaming device.

Simultaneously, the pandemic permanently changed how we pay, with new purchasing behaviours affecting all sectors. In addition to using payment methods they were already familiar with during COVID-19, many consumers (59%) also started to use a new payment method for the first time in the same period. More than half (55%) now have at least one new preferred online payment method, and where consumers have a single preferred payment method the most popular (23%) is digital wallets.

What challenges are you foreseeing as more companies head into the metaverse?

Creating truly secure payments in the metaverse, without compromising the immersivity of the experience, will present a big challenge.

The whole point of the metaverse is to create an evolved version of the web, where physical and digital personas blend into one cohesive experience. Ideally, this means less context switching and fewer accounts and passwords. But this idea is at odds with the reality of payments today, as many payment processes involve multi-factor authentication to confirm your identity.

Security will be front of mind for many businesses entering the metaverse, because while it is difficult to impersonate a person on online gaming platforms, in metaverse gaming it is not only possible to impersonate a person and commit fraud using their identity, it is also possible to do it “physically” by hijacking their avatar.

With all the changes happening in the gaming world, do you see gamers having a seamless gaming experience when it comes to payments?

The payment process can make or break a successful player’s experience. Simplified, one-click checkouts, a tailored set of APMs, local currencies and other features that reduce friction all help drive transaction conversion while gaming.

The good news is Payment Orchestration technology makes it easy to integrate all these elements, giving gamers a seamless payment experience.

What’s more, because the gaming community is generally more open to new technology, online gaming is the perfect ground for merchants to test new payment methods. This includes QR codes, which are becoming an increasingly popular tool to engage players thanks to their ease of use and reliability.

What innovations can be expected in the world of payment technology?

We’re already seeing just how important blockchain is in the gaming industry; crypto games are proving effective in earning digital currencies while they play. As more gamers accept crypto, gaming companies have a vast market opportunity to reach crypto gamers worldwide.

Now is the time for gaming merchants to think about how they can integrate cryptocurrencies into their payment systems.

Payment Orchestration is designed to offer a single integration into the payments infrastructure they might need over time. It’s a no-fuss, no-muss way to add functionality like accepting cryptocurrencies. Essentially, it puts all the connectivity tools directly into the merchants’ hands.

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