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Navigating Privacy in Gaming: Key Insights for 2024

Vincent Tessier, Head of Gaming, Sourcepoint
January 3, 2024

The games market was forecasted to reach $184 billion in revenue for 2023, with mobile gaming driving the largest portion of consumer spending. With just 0.6% year-on-year growth, the forecast signaled some stability in the wake of post-pandemic decline. However, data firm Newzoo had previously predicted more significant growth, and attributed the new, lower forecast to a “challenging privacy landscape.” 

For mobile gaming, the challenges don’t start and end with privacy. User acquisition is more difficult as inflation affects consumer spending, and changes to iOS ATT impact attribution. Consequently, user acquisition and monetization managers are looking for ways to make the most of their current user bases, from increasing retention, to improving ad integration, and maximizing re-engagement. As the industry contends with the revenue impact of data privacy regulations, they will need to optimize yet another KPI: consent rates. 

The rising challenge of privacy for gaming

Though GDPR has been in effect since 2018, data privacy regulations didn’t truly represent a threat to business outcomes for gaming until this past year. 

In 2023, Voodoo, one of the largest gaming companies in the world, was fined by the French data protection authority CNIL. Google then announced that any publisher hoping to monetize its app inventory in Europe would be required to use a certified CMP to comply with the IAB TCF v2.2 by January 16, 2024. 

The industry got a clear wake-up call: not investing in privacy will directly hurt your bottom line. 

Watch our webinar with Google: “What is TCF v2.2 and why is Google requiring a certified CMP?”

Implementing a CMP: best practices for game developers

As the gaming industry rushes to implement a consent management platform (CMP) before Google’s January deadline, there are some best practices to keep in mind. 

Privacy management requires strong technical solutions. Consent messages may be what you see at the surface, but beyond the initial message, CMPs solve for a deeply technical problem. From the collection of consent to the syndication of that signal throughout the advertising ecosystem, CMPs work to ensure that user choices are honored beyond your app. 

Customization is crucial to monetization. As the first part of your app that users interact with, your consent message is an important piece of your brand that shouldn’t be overlooked. The more the look and feel of your consent experience integrates with the rest of your app experience, the higher consent rates can be. Plus, using A/B testing, you’ll be able to make data-driven decisions about not just the design of your consent messages, but also their timing and sequencing. 

Leverage the flexibility of webview. While development teams may historically prefer building their consent messages in a native builder, using webview makes it easier to adapt as data privacy regulations evolve. Webview gives you the flexibility to alter your messages to meet new compliance requirements instantly, without needing to roll out an entirely new build each time. 

Pay attention to local regulations. With data protection authorities across Europe enforcing different interpretations of GDPR compliance, localization is an important component of your global consent management strategy. Some countries like France and Germany require a “Reject All” option that is as prominent as any “Accept All” option on the first layer of the consent message, and other countries like the UK and Spain have recently followed suit with similar guidelines. And with more and more US state laws going into effect, you’ll need a solution that can handle multi-state, multi-regulation messaging. 

Common misconceptions about CMPs

Misconception: The Google requirement for certified CMPs only impacts gaming publishers using AdMob.

According to Google, the requirement applies to any developer or publisher using Google AdSense, Ad Manager, or AdMob to serve ads to users in the European Economic Area or the UK

Misconception: It’s not important to optimize consent rates via my consent message.

Improving your consent rate by just one percentage point can positively impact your ad monetization revenue, as well as your ability to track users for user acquisition campaigns. 

Misconception: The free solution provided by Google is sufficient to comply. 

While it’s true that Google’s free consent solution allows you to quickly comply, you ultimately get what you pay for. Without the ability to customize, test, and localize your messages, you will struggle with low consent rates, negative impact to your revenue, and lack of guidance as requirements evolve. Utilizing a 3rd-party CMP partner means investing in a longer term strategy. 

Misconception: Our development team can build a CMP for us. 

Surfacing a message to collect consent may seem simple, but don’t underestimate the cost of building and maintaining an in-house solution. With the monetization or legal team asking to make changes, and local regulations shifting all the time, optimizing and updating a CMP will demand significant resources from your development team. Building reporting capabilities will be even more difficult. 

Misconception: CMPs just collect consent when a user initially downloads the app 

The CMP SDK is always active in the background even after the user has consented. Each time a user generates an ad impression, the CMP is in charge of checking if this particular user has given permission and to which ad network, check if this has changed since the last time, and pass it to the mediation & all your vendors.

Why Sourcepoint

When navigating a fast moving and complex privacy landscape, gaming publishers should choose a trustworthy partner that can provide enterprise-grade solutions as well as steadfast guidance. 

Sourcepoint works with some of the world’s largest publishers to help them meet compliance requirements while optimizing business outcomes. We are trusted by the likes of Sky, Xiaomi, The Guardian, The Financial Times, Bauer, and more to manage consent and deliver exceptional user experiences. 

As the gaming industry faces the privacy-first era, companies who understand the importance of investing in long term strategy will thrive.

Reach out to Sourcepoint today to learn more about how we help gaming publishers meet their goals. 

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