Child's play: How to tap into the $200 billion strong kids market's Loukil on monetising kids legally

Child's play: How to tap into the $200 billion strong kids market

"Why is it so difficult to monetise kids today?” opened Youb Loukil, director of Germany and France for digital wallet platform Oink on the first day of Pocket Gamer Connects in Helsinki.

The challenges are as logical as they are numerous. Children don't have access to credit cards, for instance, and nor can they access payment systems such as PayPal, which are restricted to over 18s only.

SMS billing, while popular with children, is not ideal for developers, with operators taking a hefty commission for each transaction.

Mighty market

In short, large numbers of kids have a more than adequate allowance to spend on apps and games, but finding legal and ethical ways to extract cash from them is not easy.

The rewards, however, are plentiful. In the US, the childrens' market is worth $200 billion, whereas in the UK, 7-14 years olds represent a €2.8 billion market

"By the age of 16,” continued Loukil, "75 percent of kids already have a smartphone. This generation did not experience the world without the internet. They all have a smartphone and they have time to play. They're tech savvy and socially connected.”

Even with restrictions in place, kids still find a way of spenind goney, Loukil continued, with 'friendly fraud' – children using their parents' credit card details without permission - a major factor.

Oink, of course, offers a solution, allowing kids to legally dip into their parents' bank accounts, albeit via a weekly allowance limit. 1.2 million users have signed up, Loukil concluded, with the likes of Habbo, Crytek and Wargaming already on board.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.