If you offer an online gaming option, you’re in good company. Big Fish, one of the largest online gaming companies in the world, has just announced the global statistics for gaming and there are some impressive figures! Now, 59 percent of Americans play online games, including 29 percent ages 18 and under, and 74 percent of K-8 teachers use some kind of online gaming in the classroom. Surprisingly, 56 percent of parents say that playing games is a positive activity for kids. The gender gap is closing, with 48 percent of gamers being identified as female, and independent video games are on the rise. However, how much do you really know about your game manufacturer?
Probably not much! Still, would you so easily hand over your credit card information and valuable, personal data to another site? Website visitors are used to being a little cautious when an unfamiliar site asks for their information, especially for their credit card. You might check out some reviews or do a quick search like “Is ABC Company legit?” We’re trained to think twice before making ourselves vulnerable, but the fun aspect of a game can shove that wariness out the window.
Who’s Hosting Whom?
Who your gaming company uses as a web host can make a big difference, both with security and with the quality of the game. If you prefer simple games (think a Candy Crush type of game), then you’re even less likely to research the gaming company. However, if they’re using a basic shared hosting plan instead of virtual private server/VPS hosting, you might not have the best experience possible. VPS hosting means a faster website, and the last thing you want as a gamer is long loading times.
Of course, simpler games might not require credit card information—but that doesn’t mean your personal information isn’t being used. If you fill out any data at all, like your name and physical description, do you really want that being shared? Also, what if you get really invested in the game, spending hours beating levels and moving towards victory? A cybercriminal might take down that site as a power move or out of spite, and suddenly all your work was for nothing. Checking to see what kind of hosting package the company uses can give you peace of mind.
There are also much more complex games (i.e. WOW) where you could have credit card information stored. This is akin to having your data stored on any other site, like Amazon. Of course, you probably trust that Amazon has incredible security in place and stellar web hosting (they do). Can you be so certain about a random gaming site, especially one that isn’t well known? Amazon has their own hosting and data center, but an up and coming gaming company doesn’t have that kind of cash flow. At the very least, they should have VPS.
It’s not all fun and games—you need to do your homework first. Always check to see what kind of hosting is being used by any site that you frequent and/or store personal data in.