Rise of the Gaming Industry and the Free-to-Play Model

Since the turn of the century, free-to-play (F2P) business models have become increasingly popular in the gaming industry. As a result of this model, gamers do not have to pay an upfront fee to play games, but they can make in-game purchases to obtain virtual items, abilities, and character outfits that help them progress in the game. During the past year, the gaming market reached over $120 billion. More than 70% (over $88 billion) of that came from the F2P platform, surpassing movies, TV and traditional games.

Data Breach Risks

There is no doubt that the gaming market is growing rapidly. Unfortunately, payment fraud is also on the rise. Among all industries, the gaming industry had the highest rate of data breach attacks in the first half of the year due to the abundance of payment data. Overall, gaming experienced 26.6% of all data breach attacks. One in five of the 2.2 billion active gamers suffered from payment fraud.

Account Takeover and Payment Fraud in Gaming

The reason why payment fraud is on the rise in F2P gaming is due to poor password habits that leave accounts with single-click payment experiences susceptible to account takeovers (ATOs). Once an identity thief has gained access to an account, they can change the password, effectively locking out their victim. The identity thief can then proceed to purchase items in-game for resale online.

ATOs like this are especially prevalent in popular games with thriving digital economies, such as Fortnite. Currently there are 350 million registered accounts in the F2P shooter, with 80 million active monthly users. According to Night Lion Security’s report on the underground gaming market, sellers made $1.2 million per year on stolen Fortnite accounts.

Protect Your Passwords

A gamer’s payment information is stored for quick in-game transactions, so gamers can’t ignore the importance of strengthening their main line of defense against unauthorized transactions: strong passwords with two-factor authentication and understanding and avoiding phishing scams.

Is your personal information on the dark web? Make sure your identity isn’t at risk!