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Gamers have unique banking needs too 30 August 2021

Gamers are attracting the interest of fintechs and banks to the point that some are launching dedicated offers for this promising segment. Credit Agricole in Poland and BNP Paribas in France have come out with some interesting propositions. 
The number of neobanks that are created each year is impressive. Some neobanks are founded to meet the needs of a very specific target group – expatriates, independent workers, or minority groups, for example. But targeting the followers of a particular hobby is typically not high on the agenda except in one case: video games.

Neobanks dedicated to gamers

Indeed, we are witnessing the emergence of digital neobanks dedicated to video game enthusiasts. This is the case for Blast, in the United States. Launched by Walter Cruttenden in 2018, Blast aims to be a bank specifically for gamers, a space where money meets personal passions. Blast personalizes an automated savings plan based on your gaming habits to help you hit your short and long-term financial goals.

But the gamer neobank that has been the most talked about so far is Razer Card in Singapore. This is a new business launched by video game platform Razer, which has sniffed out the right opportunity to jump into a new business. Razer Card's offering is focused on payments and accompanied by a loyalty program for gamers but the company is ambitious and its goal is to "redefine the banking experience for users, especially youth and millennials, in its path to building the world's first Youth Bank." This project was somewhat disrupted by the refusal of the local authority (Monetary Authority of Singapore) to grant it a banking license but Razer announced that it was not abandoning its project.

Very intriguing customers for banks

What might explain this interest in this niche audience? Gamers are numerous and increasingly diverse. According to Statista, Video gaming is a hobby enjoyed by young and old across the globe. In 2020, there were more than 1.52 billion gamers in the Asia Pacific region alone, making it the largest market for video gaming worldwide. In total, there were an estimated 2.8 billion gamers across the globe in 2020. That is a massive community full of people with common interests and money to spend. They are especially attractive to banks as video games are an expensive hobby that brings together a clientele that is financially comfortable and many gamers are often young and not yet linked to a bank.

Given these conditions, it is not surprising to see banks proposing banking offers dedicated to gamers. Neobanks are well-suited to the task, being agile and able to adapt quicker to this promising market.
 
Neobanks and fintechs are launching themselves within this niche market
 
Vivid Money in Germany is another example. Vivid is an app that is specialized in payment and investment. They recently launched a customized version of their banking app called "Vivid Money Gamers Edition".
 
In the U.S., digital banking specialist Zytara announced it is working on launching a banking platform for gamers. "Esports may still be maturing but as the industry is growing in strength and reach, it doesn't have a dedicated and gamer-friendly banking and payment processing solution. With over 20% of global gamers aged under 18 and a market that continues to grow, a payment solution that also supports under 18 users is long overdue. We're thrilled to be bringing our platform to market, but that's really just the start of the journey for us," said Zytara’s CEO Al Burgio.
 
In Denmark, the neobank Lunar now offers esport coaching thanks to a partnership with Astralis Group, a company specialized in video games. Thus, holders of the Astralis Card offered by Lunar will also have exclusive access to the Astralis Academy.

Traditional banks are also targeting the gamer market

This promising market is not only of interest to neobanks. Even if most incumbent banks are satisfied for the moment with sponsoring esport teams or events, some forward-thinking banks have already taken the plunge and launched real offers dedicated to gamers.

In September 2020, the Polish subsidiary of Crédit Agricole, Mastercard, and the video game platform G2A launched a banking offer for gamers.
 
More recently, BNP Paribas in France launched a real ecosystem set up with its insurance subsidiary BNP Paribas Cardif and the specialized chain of stores Micromania-Zing. The BNP Paribas offer, which includes financing, insurance and a loyalty program, is original in that it includes a subscription to PS5 or Nintendo Switch consoles. The customer will be able to change consoles every two years.
 
As gaming only continues to grow in popularity, we can look forward to fintechs and banks producing tailored offers for the community. At almost 3 billion gamers, it might be a stretch describing the community as “niche.” But it is a sector that could prove very lucrative in the years to come. 

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