REPORT: Singapore Is Slow To Pay For Facebook Games

Facebook users in Singapore don’t really understand how to use virtual currency to buy premium items in social games, but seem willing to experiment after learning more about the concept.

That comes from a new study by the Asian payment processor MOL Global

In MOL’s Singapore Social Gaming 2011 Poll Report, nearly half of the 1,221 respondents to the question, “Would you use virtual currency?” said they had never heard of it. Another 30 percent said no and only 25 percent responded positively.

When presented as, “I am likely to use virtual currency if…,” 48 percent of the 1,513 respondents to this question. said they still would not use it; 40 percent said they would do so if it was safe and easy to use, and 15 percent wanted the virtual currency to pay for a range of items.

Pay To Play

And out of 3,104 people that responded to the question of whether they’d pay for online game credits, 72 percent said no, 18 percent said maybe, and only 10 percent said yes.

Turning to respondents who actually do pay for online games, of 1,187 people who shared their preferred online payment method, 41 percent chose prepaid cards, 33 percent went with credit cards, and 26 percent chose mobile payments.

Of the 2,133 who revealed the amount they spend monthly on Facebook games, 83 percent dish out less than $20, nine percent said more than $50, and eight percent admitted to $20 to $50.

Here are six more related questions from the survey, and their answers:

  • I will pay for social games (683 respondents): 43 percent to make them fun, 39 percent to play better, and 18 percent if it is easy to buy game credits.
  • I purchase more game credits for (416): 50 percent exclusive in-game items, 31 percent bonus game credits, and 19 percent lucky draw.
  • I buy online game credits to (1,101): 31 percent get exclusive in-game items, 17 percent to quickly move up one level, and 52 percent both.
  • I have purchased online games from (930): 16 percent other games on Facebook, 10 percent Zynga games, and 74 percent have never paid.
  • I have used Facebook Credits (3,657): 45 percent no, 41 percent yes, 14 percent had not heard of them.
  • I would use Facebook Credits to (753): 37 percent buy products and services, 22 percent donate to charity, and 41 percent both.

MOL Global President of Global Operations Craig White summed up these findings:

Social gaming is mainstream. For Facebook users, social gaming helps to create deeper engagement and interaction among friends. Social gaming is also a key driver for virtual currency. Although gaming is predominantly a fun and free activity on Facebook, gaming is a business. Like most commercial content and applications on Facebook, the monetization of these games is important and creates a unique ecosystem — game developers and publishers, distribution channels, and payment service providers.

Social gaming presents a marketing opportunity that connects companies directly with gamers in a most engaging and creative platform. This is why businesses in Singapore should explore social gaming marketing initiatives.

Readers: Do you think the social gaming landscape in Singapore is very different from that in the U.S.?

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