Speed, security and simplicity

How the online gaming industry will thrive in the next decade, by Zac Cohen, COO, Trulioo.

As the online gaming industry enters the new decade, operators have an unprecedented opportunity to enter new markets, develop innovative products and services and establish meaningful, trusted relationships with their customers.

Interestingly, it isn’t only online gaming operators that are excited about the coming years. We recently undertook research that revealed a huge and growing appetite among consumers to not only embrace new and innovative games but also engage with a greater number of service providers, both domestically and abroad. The report, Online Gaming & Account Opening Report 2020, explores consumer attitudes, expectations and intentions among online gamers in both the U.K. and the U.S.

Of course, the maturity of these two markets is significantly different. The U.K. online gaming market is firmly established, with one of the most active and sophisticated customer bases in the world. On the other hand, the market within the United States is still in its infancy, following the 2018 Supreme Court decision to strike down the federal law banning commercial sports betting, which opened up the market in several states. However, early signs show that the U.S. market is set to explode over the next five years — for instance, in the first year of legal sports betting in New Jersey alone, 74% of the total legal amount wagered was placed online.

While maturity may differ, the research paints an otherwise strikingly similar picture across both markets. Online gamers are looking for something new and exciting. More than half (51%) have opened three or more new online gaming accounts in the past two years, and 59% expect to have a greater number of online gaming accounts in 12 months’ time.

Without a doubt, we are on the cusp of a more dynamic, competitive and innovation-driven industry across the globe. But that’s not to say the industry as a whole doesn’t have work to do.


Addressing the account creation problem

The research uncovered that only a third (33%) of online gamers in the U.K. and U.S. are currently fully satisfied with their experiences creating online gaming accounts. In fact, customer satisfaction around the online account opening process is lower within online gaming than any other sector, including retail, financial services, and online marketplaces.

This is a major issue because more than three-quarters (77%) of online gamers claim that the account opening process can ‘make or break’ their future relationship with a brand. There are a number of factors that contribute to a great online account opening experience, but the most important, by a considerable margin, is security. Nearly 90% of online gamers cite security as critical in account creation, far ahead of flexibility (61%) and administrative control (59%).


First impressions count

Today’s customer is both discerning and security conscious. While in the past consumers might have forgiven poor account creation experiences, the number of options available in today’s digital age, combined with the ease of switching services, means that people will simply no longer put up with a poor user experience. Indeed, 80% of online gamers report that they are becoming increasingly intolerant of poor online account opening experiences, and more than half (53%) have abandoned the process when opening a new account due to a negative experience.

When you consider the amount of time and money that goes into developing innovative new games and services to stand out in the market, and then rolling out expensive marketing campaigns to engage with consumers and entice them to a gaming site, it seems absurd that so many operators would then risk losing that customer at the final hurdle due to an inefficient account creation process.

Whatever reason consumers cite for abandoning the online creation process, it ultimately comes down to a desire for a speedy and painless journey. Excessive requests for personal information and failed attempts to verify an individual’s identity mean that it takes longer for the consumer to create an account and start playing. This presents a seriously challenging dynamic for operators; they need to meet consumer demands for a highly secure account creation process but do so in an efficient and intuitive way.


Real-time ID verification is key to success

While security ranks as the most important factor in any account creation process, online gamers do not believe that this should be an excuse for slow and painstaking identity checks. They simply won’t tolerate them. On the other hand, consumers look favourably on service providers that deliver fast and secure account creation, built around real-time identity verification. They perceive real-time identity verification as key to delivering both the security and speed that they want when opening an account. More than three-quarters (77%) of online gamers would be willing to share more personal data with gaming operators that use real-time identity verification to enhance the account opening experience.

Simply put, online gamers want the account creation process to be as efficient and intuitive as possible, in keeping with the real-time gaming experience they enjoy once they are signed up to the site.