Online gaming has managed to become one of the largest markets in the entertainment industry. This includes online games that are free to play, such as the recent hit Fortnite, online games that are pay to play, such as CS: Go, and online casino games, such as Cool Cat Casino. With the advent of the internet and the constantly increasing speed, server sizes and memory processing powers, it is safe to assume that the industry is only going to keep growing in size as time goes on. As this happens, one thing that many people forget to consider is the information that they provide to the companies that operate these online gaming venues. Just like with social media, Google and other online products are seen on the internet, you end up providing some kind of information to the companies that operate online gaming venues. So what is this information and why is it important to consider this information and whether you want companies to know this information about you? We are going to discuss these concepts in this article and mention some of the important aspects of this industry.
The information gathered
It is not easy to tell what kind of information is gathered across the board by all of the different online gaming companies. The subject is a complicated one, specifically because all of the companies that are involved in the gathering of information seem to have different kinds of priorities. But there are certain things that all companies gather and retain. This includes:
- Payment systems information
- Personal information, such as eMail, phone number or other
- Playing hours
- Playing habits
- In-game purchase habits
- Preferred products
Some of this information might seem more innocuous than others. What might be terrifying you at the moment is the fact that these companies are able to access your payment systems information, whether these be cards, online wallets or something else. This should be the least of the aspects bothering you, as the information about your preferred payment method is not vulnerable and the company in possession of it is highly regulated so that you will not be in danger of the information being misused. The part of the list that you should be paying special attention to is related to personal information, as well as to the in-game purchases and your preferred products, as well as the hours of the day that you play in.
The importance to you
Your personal information being in possession of a large company means that the company is able to create a profile of you, one that details your behavioral patterns. A profile of you that is available for access to the people who are part of this company and to anyone who the company sells this data to. Combine this with the fact that the company is recording your preferred products, in-game purchasing habits, contact information as well as playing hours, and you will realize that the profile would be setting you up perfectly for certain marketing ploys.
These marketing ploys are ones that you might not even be able to identify if you are not paying special attention to them. In a vein similar to facebook, the marketing starts appearing in the margins of the pages you visit, where you don’t notice it at first. But it also starts appearing through the mail you receive, through the phone calls you receive and so on. A customized marketing profile is a dangerous thing, especially if you are prone to making purchases that are not always in your best interest. If the company that owns Fortnite knows that you love a certain type of skin and a certain type of dance move, they are able to sell this information to Youtube and to marketing companies. These will start advertising related content to you, which might not bother you, but encourage you to eventually end up purchasing products that you would not have otherwise purchased. You might even get certain Youtube video recommendations that you would not have otherwise gotten if your specific gaming habits are recorded by a company.
The importance to the company
So why would a gaming company go through the trouble of gathering this information and selling it? Well, many companies that provide online gaming services do so for free, only charging players for cosmetic items or some additional services. Not everybody ends up buying these, and in order to boost the company revenues, the company might be motivated to sell the marketing profile of the individual to a different company. This way they are able to generate more revenue and be valued higher on the stock market.
Alternatively, if the company does not intend to sell the marketing profile, they might be motivated to simply use the marketing profile themselves. They might build content that will be more irresistible to buy and market things to you so incessantly, that you end up buying the product just so the ads stop bothering you. Information gathering such as this is seemingly only the result of capitalism and makes sense. But, on the other hand, it might lead to dangerous situations in the future. Being aware of the information you share with these companies is incredibly important in continuing to game on the internet and continuing your online presence.