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Your Game Sucks and Fraud is the Reason Why

posted on: Wed Feb 21 2018

With so many options available to the 700 million gamers who play online games, you can’t afford to give players a reason to abandon your site.

But if just a little fraudulent activity takes place (account takeover where your game seems untrustworthy or fraudulent new account creation where fraudsters dilute your game, etc.) then players will flee and word will spread rapidly that your game sucks.

Think about it: how much did you spend to bring your online game or mobile app to market? Budget numbers are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the gaming world, but based on rough industry benchmarks, it probably wasn’t cheap to develop.


  • $1 million: small/indie development team
  • $10 million: mid-sized studio
  • $100 million plus: large publisher


  • $10K: simple, low-end gaming app
  • $250K: sophisticated app with rich functionality (e.g., racing game using gyroscope)
  • $500K: commercial-grade app

Of course, those numbers don’t include marketing costs, which can run 2 to 3 times your development budget. With all that money invested, the last thing you want is for fraudsters to ruin the fantastic experience you’ve created. Here’s what can happen:

Account Takeover. Your most valuable customers are the biggest targets for fraudsters. After all, top players have the richest accounts that offer the biggest gains when it comes to account takeover. In addition to obtaining stolen credentials on the Dark Web, fraudsters in the gaming space create spoof sites that use cascading style sheet (CSS) code stolen from legitimate game sites. Typically, the spoof URL is one flipped letter different from the actual site (e.g., “online-gamet-net.com” vs. “online-gamer-net.com”). When unsuspecting players mistype the web address, they arrive at what looks like the actual site. Their login credentials get collected and are used to hijack their account on the true site.

Unrewarding Play. If your game gets overrun by fraudsters, it can create a bad experience for your players. One example: criminal gangs use bots to sign up for multiple accounts in order to fraudulently claim referral bonuses. These dumb bots are pathetic performers in actual game play, ruining head-to-head competition and/or cooperative play in a multi-player games. Your legitimate players grow frustrated and leave.

Unfair Play. Fraudsters use synthetic identities to create multiple accounts that give them an unfair advantage. For example, a criminal gang will hold the majority of seats at a poker table. They use their inside knowledge of what cards are in each hand to dramatically increase their odds. Their string of wins will drive away losing legitimate players in search of sites with fairer play.

Fraud Attacks. Fraudsters use compromised or fake accounts to gain access to members of your community. They’ll then send phishing communications and conduct other attacks against your players. These attacks drive off legitimate customers and can result in negative publicity and widespread social media complaints that hurt your brand.

Don’t let fraud turn your great game into a loser. Employ these best practices to fight fraud and win against bad actors:

  1. Multiple, Advanced Screening Technologies
  2. Account Registration
  3. Multiple Stages
  4. Biometrics
  5. Double Authentication
  6. Chargeback Alerts
  7. All Payment Types
  8. Device and Channel Neutral
  9. Real-Time Data Orchestration
  10. Advanced AI & Machine Learning Technology
  11. Experienced Human Intelligence
  12. Strategic Representments

Read more about these insider hacks for defeating bad actors and keeping your game pure. Download the white paper “Insider Hacks: Fighting Fraud for Online Games” featuring insights from Scott Adams, former Director of Fraud and Risk Management at Riot Games, and a leading consultant in the online games and gaming space.