With the global gaming industry worth over $163.1billion, there are plenty of opportunities for fintechs to enter the space and thrive, particularly when looking at payments within games.
Al Burgio, Founder and CEO of Zytara, tells us why he launched the digital banking platform and payments network with Gen Z and Millennial gamers and esports enthusiasts front of mind.
When it comes to personal finances, Gen Z and Millennials have faced the most challenges. The financial crises of 2008 and 2012 have led to years of low inflation, low wage growth and high living costs. This has limited their ability to save, buy a house or even start a business.
But this group of consumers is incredibly special – and lucrative. They’re the only online-first generation to exist. They make brands work hard for their trust. And they trust brands whose products and services are aligned with their values.
Building a product for gamers, by gamers
Within gaming, this mindset is even more important – this is an entire community built around shared goals and experiences. When we first began discussing the concept of Zytara we noticed there was a huge gap in the market. There was no digital platform and payment network tailored to the specific needs of the gamers, esports enthusiasts and their families – no one seemed to understand how their needs differed from everyone else’s.
As experts in fintech, we knew we could create a desirable product for them, but we knew we needed to work alongside experts in this area. And we did. This is why not only is our core offering tailored to this very specific target audience – but so are the values that guide us. We’re really proud that Zytara is authentically built for gamers, by gamers. In addition to the gaming enthusiasts on our staff, one of our advisory board members is an ex #1 ranked pro player.
And this is where Zytara can come into its own – what we offer is so unique. And, while getting the product features right is important, it’s also about the wider opportunity. It’s our mission to offer financial literacy, inclusion and support for this audience, in such a manner that no one else has been able to.
The games industry is experiencing continued growth. By 2023, there will be three billion gamers in the world – making up over a third of the population. In addition to the market size – this is a high spending, high-income audience.
According to SuperData, YoY digital games spend was up 12% in 2020 to $127 billion. Equally astounding is the wealth of individual esports players. According to Statista.com N0tail (Johan Sundstein), from Denmark, is the highest-paid esports player as of March 2021 with earnings totalling $6.97million.
Developing our own cryptocurrency
We also recently launched the Zytara Dollar known as ZUSD – our very own stablecoin – redeemable on a 1:1 basis for the US dollar. Until now there has been a lack of understanding around cryptocurrency, though Elon Musk’s recent investment in Bitcoin will definitely help increase mainstream awareness.
For us though, it was about how we satisfy the needs of the gaming industry. Two-thirds of gamers in a recent study by Worldwide Asset eXchange claimed that gamers would like more opportunities to use cryptocurrency within their video gaming network, while 75% said they wished they could exchange their virtual goods into currency that they can use to buy or sell on other platforms.
And now they can.
ZUSD is a programmable dollar perfectly suited for the needs of gamers. It provides gamers with the ability to instantly transact and send and receive payments from anywhere in the world without needing a bank account. Gamers only need an Internet connection and there’s no need for the sender and recipient to use the same app to send and receive. We’ve introduced it to the community through our partnership with Dignitas, the oldest esports organisation in existence. It’s been really well received.
We’re at the start of our journey with Zytara but we’re already seeing positive reactions from the gaming and esports community. This is because we’ve taken the time to understand and respond to their needs. We’ll have more partnerships to announce in the coming weeks. They’ve all been carefully chosen to add further value to this unique audience. We’re here for the long haul.