Online gaming has always helped foster connections between people no matter where they are. This can also make them an easy target for online fraudsters. When the pandemic kicked into high gear, keeping people close when isolated created a rich environment for those with nefarious intent. Our overview of online game fraud demonstrated the most common types of fraud impacting the gaming world.
The industry shows no signs of slowing with the number of gamers expected to rise to 3.3 billion next year. The Entertainment Software Association estimates 65% of American adults play video games across various platforms. In addition, Deloitte found that 52% of Gen Z consumers and 46% of millennials routinely binge on video games. They rely on these platforms for entertainment and as a way to connect with family and friends.
With its impressive and expansive growth and revenue, game developers will remain a prime target for fraudsters. If left unchecked, fraud could eventually shut down the business model of online gaming by costing them more than their earnings. These attacks come on a variety of fronts, and the resulting impact on the bottom line and reputations can be catastrophic.
Consider the extreme popularity of Fortnite. Stolen game accounts and V-bucks (their in-game currency) are a $1 billion black market commodity! The good news is that there are ways game companies can fight back and protect themselves before disaster strikes.
What Does It Mean to Win?
Beyond earnings, game companies have to achieve a lot to be considered successful. They have to provide an entertaining and responsive gaming experience, build online communities, retain customer loyalty, and turn a profit. All while protecting their players and their company’s reputation. The achievement of all of these goals rely on fighting back against online fraud.
Recognizing the Enemy
We’ve already explored the types of fraud affecting the game industry. Multiple Account Fraud, Payment or Credit Card Fraud, Account Takeovers, Bonus Abuse, and Affiliate Fraud are all very real risks. The impact of online fraud on gaming companies is felt in a variety of ways.
Increased Need for Hard Resources: Bots use up resources and may necessitate additional hardware to keep the game responsive. Those additional resources could otherwise be dedicated to improving the experience for real players.
Degraded Experience: When hardware can’t keep up with the resource demand, the games can lag. Bots can degrade the in-game experience and drain precious resources, online and offline. Staff become focused on fighting fraudulent attacks and distracted from support and innovation.
Additional Overhead: Dedicating employees to finding and fighting fraud can be expensive and diverts workers from providing support and focusing on innovation. An account takeover attack involving 500 players, cost one company over $60,000 in overtime and over a month to fix. Attacks like this are devastating on a large scale. Especially when you consider that some games can have up to 200 players ready to play at any moment.
Degradation of the Game Experience and In-Game Currency: Using bots drains resources and available playtime without investing the same time and effort as legit players. This takes advantage of the in-game reward systems for prizes, bonuses, and even in-game currency. When bots collect rewards or currency too quickly, it can devalue, possibly even crash, the game’s virtual economy.
With international games, hackers have also taken advantage of favorable exchange rates. Purchases can be made and then resold in more expensive markets using platforms like WhatsApp or Discord.
Trust is one of the most important aspects of consumer confidence. Degraded game performance and bots that compete fraudulently create damages that can be difficult to overcome. Not to mention the ad revenue hit that comes with reputation damage.
Making Sure Cheaters Never Prosper
Companies can create a secure and effective platform with the right tools and strategies in their tech stack. It pays to stay one step ahead of malicious actors by improving existing security measures and staying informed about emerging threats.
Anura is well-versed in the techniques used by fraudsters. They can provide reliable and up-to-date tools and strategies for protecting game companies from these threats. In addition, having an online fraud detection tool like Anura can free up time and resources.
We're running all of our relevant online traffic by Anura to eliminate user acquisition fraud for our online gaming titles. They have a great and very responsive customer service that promptly handles questions and other inquiries. A definitive recommendation.
Anura’s online, real-time fraud detection provides game developers the tools for analyzing unauthorized game activity. With built-in machine learning capabilities, Anura’s system monitors traffic to identify suspicious patterns and activities as they occur.