SAN FRANCISCO — To reach every corner of the world with the games on its Android platform, Google is thinking about how people pay.
Google’s head of game business development, Bob Meese, says that the key to the success of Android around the world depends largely on providing multiple ways for gamers to shell out money for games. In a talk during the GamesBeat 2014 conference today, Meese noted that Android has a market share when it comes to devices, but he admitted that Apple’s App Store has had an advantage due to having iTunes customers’ payment information for years. To compete, the company is investing in multiple ways for people to pay.
“We have had a great growth period of getting people who are able to associate their payment information with Google Play,” said Meese.
But Google isn’t waiting for everyone to come online with a credit card before enabling them to spend money on Candy Crush Saga or Clash of Clans. Meese noted Google’s work to implement payment methods that are more popular in emerging markets.
“There’s 26 countries where we offer direct carrier billing,” he said. “We have 22 countries where we sell Google Play gift cards, and we have PayPal payments available in 12 different countries.”
Carrier billing is an incredibly popular way for paying for games and in-app purchases in Asia — although this method also works around the world. Direct carrier billing is when gamers go into Google Play and buy something and charge the cost of that item to their phone bill. It doesn’t require a credit card, and it greatly reduces the payment-process friction. Gift cards and PayPal are also popular alternatives.
“[Payments] is an area where we’ve seen improvement and growth,” said Meese. “And it’s an area where we’re investing in.”
Meese touched on how its investment in payments represents a wider trend within Google to improve its tools for the companies making games. These include working to provide developers with ways of understanding how consumers use Google Play as well as localizing games for international markets.
“We want to create opportunities for game developers,” said Meese. “We have these general-purpose platforms at Google, but we can make them smarter for the gaming community.”