The latest webinar brought to you by The Fintech Times is on Payment Technology in Gaming. Hosted by Mark Walker, Editorial Director of The Fintech Times, together with Evan Heby, Senior Manager, Marketing at Tipalti and Konstantinos Maragkakis, EEA CEO of Paysafe Prepaid Services.
REVIEW: Payments in Gaming Technology Webinar
The session started with introductions to Evan Helby and Tipalti, an accounts payable automation solution that specialises in helping high growth gaming companies, and Konstantinos Maragkakis of Paysafe, a large payment group, that offers specialised payment solutions for people along their entire lifetime, including gamers who are a core audience for the company.
With both guests firmly at the heart of the payments evolution in gaming, host Mark Walker kicked off the session with a look at just why this industry is, in the words of Konstantinos “like a rocketship.”
He went on to say that in terms of the history of GameTech, “Gaming has evolved since it was, and I’m going to use a word that hasn’t been said for a long time, in cassettes that you could load up on a personal computer. I think that the evolution of gaming has come from a standalone product that involves just one player in front of his monitor somewhere in a basement, to a product of gaming as a continuous service, with the gamer themselves being part of a broader ecosystem. Fundamentally, gaming is now a lifestyle, not just an activity.”
While both men agreed that the popularity of gaming was undeniable, in terms of payments there had been a very clear move to the eSports element that now serves legions of fans. Evan said, “There’s so many different facets of the gaming world and one really interesting that I’ve been keeping a close eye on is the eSports world. If you talk to people in the gaming ecosystem, they really think of eSports as its own little sliver outside of the whole gaming pie, which according to Newzoo, is worth around $160 billion industry in total. eSports may only be a very small sliver, but it’s growing exponentially and I think we’re going see a lot of that growth.
“The fact is that there are so many different revenue models and different ways to make money. On the flip side, there aren’t a lot of professionals that have vetted how to run a gaming business across the other side of the world so we feel really well-positioned to help these companies reach their next level. As we help to optimise the back office, we see ourselves as helping the industry grow up if you will.”
eSports is also something that Konstantinos enjoys, but he does have a caution. He said, “The last time I attended a real EA eSports event was in September 2019 in New York for ESL Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. I was amazed when I was told that two major hedge funds were actually having their board meetings in that arena that day, because they just wanted to show potential investors the power of eSports.
“However, anybody who is looking at gaming from the outside, and at Paysafe we’ve been in the space for 20 years so we know more, but from the outside you think you’re seeing a linear progression in GameTech, but that’s not always the case- you have to really be on your toes here, both for the opportunity but also sometimes for potential risk and headwinds that can come in gaming.”
Certainly, it was agreed that lockdowns around the world have only strengthened the community in gaming, although that’s not to say it wasn’t there in the first place. Evan said on the concept of mass popularity, “I think gaming is the biggest evergreen runway for companies to expand and capitalise on. Whether they’re eSports teams or businesses expanding, you’re seeing a lot of those companies who need the ability to pay international players, whether it’s an influencer that’s doing consulting work for you or to grow your brand presence in a country like China where you might not have a footprint yet, there are different payment aspects that need to be considered.
“But this isn’t just happening overnight. I mean, World of Warcraft came out in 2004. And that’s really one of the major what we call nowadays MMO (massively multiplayer online games). And so this isn’t just happening overnight, the growth trends of the community are fostering the ancillary items from mergers to sponsorships to influencers, this has been a long game here in the sector.”