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Brazil's tricky and booming gaming industry

Wednesday 26 June 2019 | 08:25 AM CET

Bianca Lopez and Ralf Germer of PagBrasil present the key aspects in understanding Brazil’s gaming industry

Brazil’s gaming industry is huge, with 75.7 million players and 59% of internet users watching gaming-related video content online. The country is second only to Mexico in Latin America, despite having 20 million more players, with an estimated revenue of USD 1.6 billion.

On a global scale, Brazil ranks 14th. With an increasingly connected population, keen on experimenting with new technologies, the country is home to a growing community of gaming enthusiasts. However, this booming industry can be tricky for businesses unfamiliar with the particularities of the Brazilian market.

In the past two years, the country’s gaming population increased by over 28%, in particular because of the advance of smartphone penetration and the popularity of mobile games. Currently, 50% and 51% of men and women, respectively, who have access to the internet, play mobile games in Brazil. Still, they have a series of specific needs that are often overlooked by gaming companies, notably by those with a more international background, which have significant impact when it comes to monetising their games in the country.

Apart from having to understand the best channels to reach and interact with Brazilian gamers, it is also important to know their paying preferences as to buying games or making in-game purchases. Online payments are often a complex part of the operation for games’ developers and publishers who are unaware of Brazil’s peculiarities. For instance, local credit cards are generally restricted to domestic purchases in local currency, debit cards are not widely used for online transactions, and alternative payment methods, such as boleto bancário - an official push payment method - are extremely popular among Brazilians.

In addition, the country is home to over 55 million unbanked who still rely on cash payment methods. And let’s not forget the large portion of younger gamers, who are also bankless or do not have access to credit cards, often the most popular option for online payments.

Navigating the market

In this sense, how can gaming merchants meet the consumers’ needs while still delivering an excellent user experience that maximises payment conversion? Offering domestic payment methods is a good starting point. However, providing a seamless payment experience and quick payment confirmation for alternative payment methods are also essential. In-app payments for mobile gamers, one-click or even recurring payments that allow users to buy without being required to introduce their payment details each time are some of the solutions currently available that can benefit the gaming industry.

When it comes to boleto bancário, which is used in approximately 25% of all online transactions in Brazil, it is not always easy to meet customers’ expectations. Usually, the main alternative Brazilian payment method is confirmed with a delay of two to three business days and is not responsive or compatible with in-app payments.

“Boleto bancário, as well as cash payments, still play a major role in digital payments in Brazil. Mobile payment transactions are now dominating the segment, and while we see plenty of efforts put into developing and introducing wallet-like solutions, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay, the same is not observed in terms of serving the huge portion unbanked and people who do not own a credit card,” comments Ralf Germer, CEO and Co-Founder of PagBrasil.

Because of Brazil’s enormous amount of bankless adults, younger gamers and high rates of over- indebted people, all without access to credit cards, gaming industry players must offer inclusive payment methods that answer to these consumers’ needs. “At PagBrasil, we noticed our clients were struggling to convert payments in this scenario and this is how our unique Boleto Flash® was born, providing boleto payment confirmation in less than one hour, being mobile-friendly and compatible with in-app payments. Following the success it had in maximising conversions for our gaming clients, who experience above market usage in alternative payment methods, we introduced PEC Flash®, a cash payment method created especially for mobile users, that provides nearly instant payment confirmation,” adds Mr. Germer.

Legislation

There is a never-ending debate regarding the fiscal nature of games. On one side, there are those who defend that games should be treated as software, while others believe they should be considered audio-visual content and be taxed as such. In 2017, a Federal Court judge ruled in favour of classifying games as software, therefore excepting them from taxation. The same understand is shared by the National Institute of Technology, which published a report concluding that games are software, regardless of their media format.

The Federal Government is also studying reducing import duties for games and consoles, that currently amounts to 72% of the import sales value. While the matter is being discussed by the National Congress since 2017, the executive branch of government has recently announced it plans to carry out the tax cut, which is bound to create a more competitive environment and should further fuel the gaming industry’s growth.

It is also worth noting that while there is no restriction against gaming, gambling is illegal in Brazil. There are currently several projects being analysed by the National Congress that aim to regulate, among others, eSports, gambling, and casinos in the country. So far none has succeeded.

About Bianca Lopez

Bianca Lopez is Marketing Manager at PagBrasil. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from Universidade do Vale do Itajaí and a Master’s Degree in Communication from Universitat de Barcelona. Bianca is specialized in Digital Marketing and Communication, with focus on the payment industry.

 

About Ralf Germer

Ralf is Co-Founder and Co-CEO at PagBrasil. His fields of expertise are business management, international business development, marketing, online sales and payment processing. Prior to PagBrasil, he was Vice President of Product Marketing Europe at Actebis and later founded 4M Iberoamérica.

 

About PagBrasil

PagBrasil is an online payment platform for Brazil, with gateway and collection services. Its broad set of local payment methods includes the exclusive Boleto Flash with responsive technology. The company’s state-of-the-art infrastructure offers flexible integration methods, with extensions for Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, VTEX, among others. PagBrasil has a full set of advanced services, including an automated split-payout solution for marketplaces, especially aimed at boosting online sales in Brazil.

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