Gaming companies need to level up to capitalise on burgeoning industry

The gaming industry has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years and become a leading form of entertainment in Ireland, especially among those aged 25 to 34

Jonas Breding, General Manager for PayPal Northern Europe

Gaming in Ireland isn’t just a hobby. It’s a part of people’s lives. Their means to make connections and socialise. Their way of generating some additional income. Their outlet for stress and an escape from reality.

It’s a growing industry and represents a prime opportunity for gaming companies to attract consumers and drive growth. As with any burgeoning industry, those who react now to emerging trends and behaviours will get ahead of the curve and reap the rewards.

A growing industry

A recent PayPal survey* found that 31 per cent of gamers in Ireland are willing to spend more money on games this year. In fact, the expected average spend among those who buy online games is estimated to be €451.

The gaming industry has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years and become a leading form of entertainment in Ireland, especially among those aged 25 to 34. Entertainment was the top motivation cited by 53 per cent of all respondents, followed by stress relief (47 per cent) and escaping reality (37 per cent).

A significant proportion of those spending more on games in 2024 revealed that gaming is their favourite hobby (37 per cent) and a way to make friends (28 per cent). Gaming can also be beneficial for mental wellbeing with 34 per cent citing same.

A profitable pastime

Moreover, gamers in Ireland are leveraging their pastime to generate additional income, with a quarter (25 per cent) having started or continued earning money via gaming in 2023, and a further 22 per cent considering it as an additional way to generate income this year.

The most popular ways of making money through gaming for respondents who started or continued earning money via gaming in the past 12 months were taking surveys (38 per cent), ads (26 per cent), and time playing or Mistplay (24 per cent).

In other words, the demand for gaming will only increase as people spend more and use it to generate income. However, for this burgeoning industry to truly boom, the infrastructure needs to be in place to enhance the user experience, facilitate secure transactions and empower gamers.

A critical challenge

Gaming companies need to support the engagement and enjoyment of gamers, removing any obstacles to the user experience. For example, PayPal’s research found that 69 per cent identified high living costs and inflation as a potential deterrent, while concerns about fraud (34 per cent) and unavailability of payment options (29 per cent) were also noted as game-changers in this regard.

Furthermore, safety is a priority for 64 per cent1 when buying or playing games. Some 67 per cent1 are giving more consideration to safety when it comes to choosing gaming platforms and a similar proportion (69 per cent1) said safety increases their loyalty towards a game.

This is understandable given that 30 per cent of gamers have encountered safety concerns while gaming during the past year and over a third (36 per cent1) have previously felt unsafe when completing a game purchase.

A prime opportunity

Gaming companies must address the challenges of cost and security if they are to capitalise on the opportunity the industry represents. That means offering trusted payment methods like PayPal – which was found to be the most popular payment method, used by 35 per cent of gamers.

It also means providing more choice with older editions of or preloved games at lower prices. For those who are making money through gaming, providers should embrace this by facilitating and securing transactions between users.

This will allow companies to deliver an agile and enhanced gaming experience which elevates functionality and boosts satisfaction. In turn, they will stand out from the competition and tap into a market which is only just getting started and has many more levels to go.

Jonas Breding, general manager for PayPal Northern Europe, said: "There is a dynamic gaming community in Ireland, where gaming means more than just entertainment. For some, it serves as a tool for relieving stress and making connections. For others, they are transforming their passion for gaming into an income stream. We understand that safety is always a concern and provide a more secure way to pay with PayPal for games and accessories.”

*The research was conducted by Censuswide among a sample of 1,000 gamers aged 18+ in ROI. The data was collected in November 2023. 1‘Strongly agree’ and ‘Somewhat agree’ responses combined.

PayPal can help gaming companies to simply, swiftly and securely process payments.

Find out more at www.paypal.com/ie/enterprise