Analyst firm SuperData Research predicts that the prepaid game cards industry will generate $495 million per year by 2014, due to several factors that will help grow this already popular payment method for online entertainment.
The research group points to the recent 2009 Credit Card Act, which changed the minimum age for credit card holders from 18 to 21 years old, as one of the primary drivers for the increasing popularity of prepaid game cards.
Therefore, consumers aged under 21 are using this alternate payment method to purchase virtual goods and currency at online entertainment destinations -- with Zynga one of the companies that has just announced retail cards as a payment method.
SuperData described the growth in sales for prepaid game card as explosive, jumping up 48 percent year-over-year in 2009.
The firm adds that North American buyers are receptive to retail-based cards, such as the prepaid game cards for titles like Club Penguin, MapleStory
that now fill stands at grocery/convenience/drug stores, as they're familiar with the $100 billion gift card market.
As part of its "Prepaid Game Card Primer"
report, which seeks to map out the current market landscape of prepaid game cards and assess the buying behavior of digital consumers, SuperData analyzed data from more than 250,000 prepaid card transactions (provided by 15 different publishers of MMOs, virtual worlds, and social games) and from a custom panel of 3,152 respondents.
"Instead of using prepaid game cards as just another payment method, it presents a real monetization opportunity,” according to the report's lead analyst Joost van Dreunen. "Understanding the industry’s incentive structure is critical."