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Insight: As gaming revenues grow, so do the cross-platform threats

Insight: As gaming revenues grow, so do the cross-platform threats

Denuvo managing director Reinhard Blaukovitsch tells us about why games companies need to be more careful than ever in protecting against threats across all platforms

The global games market is estimated to generate a massive $152.1bn in revenue in 2019, an increase of almost 10 per cent from last year. This is according to Newzoo’s 2019 Global Games Market Report which was released earlier this year and it points to the continued prosperity and growth of the gaming industry across all platforms.

However, the opportunities have not gone unnoticed by the more unsavoury corners of the online world and this rapid growth, particularly in the multiplayer video game market, has led to some developing a variety of ways to bypass, cheat, modify or pirate games. Whether PC games or mobile games, the threat is the same and these nefarious actors could potentially expose security flaws, put data at risk and ruin the gaming experience for legitimate players. Therefore, a fundamental aspect of reducing security risks to any game is to plan from day one how hackers can take advantage of your game’s design and architecture.

A current trend with hackers is that they are exploiting the following two areas of binary-based vulnerabilities to compromise games:

  • Code modification - Hackers conduct unauthorized code modifications or insert malicious code into a game’s binaries.
  • Reverse Engineering - Using intelligence gathered from code analysis tools, the binaries can be reverse-engineered exposing valuable code and proprietary IP that hackers can lift out of the game and be re-used or re-packaged.

Whether on PC or mobile, another consideration for security has to be the many third-party global app stores. Developers often collaborate with these third-party app stores to host their apps and receive revenue. Some of these app stores host pirated versions of games that consumers then download. Not only does this deny revenue to the official developers, but many of these pirate games also contain malware, thus bringing harm to the game brand as well.

In addition to the threat from tampering, cheating is still a major threat that is prevalent in the industry. The success of a multiplayer game requires a large and active user base, and research conducted by Irdeto last year found that 77 per cent of players were likely to quit a game for good if they feel opponents aren’t playing fair. Therefore, if cheating is not addressed effectively, it has the potential to dilute the value of the game and impact revenue streams for the publisher. In short, consumers will play a game longer, if they are not playing against cheaters, resulting in more in-game purchases and revenue stream.

With Anti-Tamper and Anti-Cheat technology, Denuvo is helping publishers address these challenges across platforms and has now launched its Mobile Game Protection solution to protect mobile games from cheating, modding and tampering.

Hacks and cheats are an ever-present issue that has plagued the gaming industry since the dawn of video games. While PC and console multiplayer titles are vulnerable to cheats, in mobile, even with the prevalence of free-to-play, the dangers of hacking and pirating are very real. Without proper security in place across all platforms, publishers could be exposing themselves to revenue loss and reputational damage.


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