In many ways, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented changes for people’s habits — and among the biggest shifts has been gaming’s rapid climb in popularity. But as video game revenues have surged, the industry has increasingly become a more attractive mark for cybercriminals.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the state of fraud in gaming and cover some advanced techniques that the most effective anti-fraud systems — including our industry-leading solution, Xsolla Anti-fraud — use to protect the operation of your business.
No one could have predicted how important video games would become during the COVID-19 global public health crisis. But at a time when typical interactions have sadly been limited by necessity, gaming has played an important role in helping people to entertain themselves, balance their mental health, and most importantly, stay connected with one another.
As a result, there are more people playing video games now than perhaps ever before — as many as three billion people worldwide. This massive volume of interested and active gamers has accelerated gaming’s already staggering climb in growth, helping the industry to more than double in market value between 2013 and 2020. And early estimates suggest that the console segment alone will grow nearly another 20% by 2022, no doubt spurred on by the launch of several next-gen systems this year.
Unfortunately, a continued side effect of the gaming industry’s success has been the increased presence of fraudulent activity. Following a trend that began before COVID-19, cybercriminals have attempted to perpetrate fraud on successful games and gaming platforms at higher volumes. And as video game earnings keep reaching new heights, fraudsters have employed more sophisticated methods to defraud successful game studios and their user communities.
Because of the unique circumstances in which global consumers found themselves in 2020, just about every industry has experienced a marked uptick in online payments activity this year. But there are a number of unique factors that make video games a prime target for cybercriminals:
An out-of-the box anti-fraud system that isn’t specifically built for the industry may not know enough about how gaming fraudsters operate to catch them in the act. But a solution backed by a partner like Xsolla, with more than 15 years of working exclusively in video games, has the expertise to uncover and stop various types of gaming fraud despite these factors and techniques.
Loss of revenue from fraudulent activity is unwelcome and unjust. But it’s the other loss — loss of reputation — that can be even more damaging, particularly in gaming.
More and more every year, the connections between gaming companies and their user communities evolve from transactional relationships to dynamic, ongoing partnerships. This progression is best demonstrated by recent changes in monetization models, where many studios have shifted from relying on singular game sales to building continual revenue streams fed by microtransactions, subscriptions, season passes, and other similar offerings.
The trust and loyalty needed to develop these important relationships is difficult to build — and if disrupted by an instance of fraud, infinitely more difficult to repair. Additionally, as gamers can be a particularly vocal crowd, a lone instance of fraud has the potential to spread across a community and disillusion users who weren’t even directly affected, damaging many relationships at once.
It’s hard to imagine that an anti-fraud solution may be responsible for preserving and maintaining such an important factor in your business’s long-term success. That’s why a seasoned anti-fraud partner like Xsolla can bear that burden and help you keep valuable resources focused where they belong, on the continued development and operation of your project.
Games can differ in many ways, from in-game attributes like genre and gameplay to administrative details like region, monetization model, or launch status. But across categories, games largely operate in similar ways when it comes to the submission and processing of payments.
In much the same fashion, instances of fraudulent activity in gaming are neither completely unique nor uniform — and the best gaming anti-fraud systems are not only aware of this dichotomy, but actively integrate it into their fraud detection and verification mechanics.
With this in mind, the most effective gaming fraud prevention systems should:
While 2020 has helped the video game industry to achieve record earnings, it can also bring unwanted attention from fraudsters seeking to pick your business’s pocket and do irreparable harm to your relationships with your user community. But as your trusted partner, Xsolla can deliver what you need for a strong defense against fraud, including:
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about how we can help you build a powerful, effective anti-fraud solution tailored to meet your business’s needs.