Do you remember Smurfs? Now, have you ever heard any gamer mention smurfing?
If you happen to have gamer friends, chances are you have. This cheating strategy has grown to become one of the biggest issues of the gaming industry today.
So, what is smurfing?
Smurfing refers to when highly-skilled players create fake, secondary accounts to play against less proficient opponents just for the fun of it, or to get points or improve their tactics without risking the points and statistics of their own account.
This multiple account misuse may seem benign, but the frustrations it causes other players could very well cost gaming companies their users. Moreover, this is only one use case that stems from multiple account misuse in gaming.
Let’s talk about it.
What is Multiple Account Misuse in gaming?
Multiple account misuse is an issue across different industries, ranging from e-commerce, to online dating and online gambling for various reasons, all of which go against the terms of service. It’s one of the biggest types of fraud in gaming right now.
Those who take part in multiple account misuse don’t have to be especially tech-savvy, depending on the know-your-customer systems in place by the certain gaming company.
When there is none, any user can simply keep creating new accounts using only an email address and password. Usually, they do this from the same device, and IP address. Those who are more careful could do this through a VPN.
The next level multiple account misuse consists of groups of fraudsters who leverage emulators, virtual machines or other means of unearthing new IP addresses.
Finally, the most experienced of the fraudsters will use stolen or fake identities to create new accounts.
Okay – you might say – I get how this is a huge problem in online gambling or other areas where the aim is to earn money, but why is this so important in the gaming industry?
Well, there are a couple of reasons, all of which financially affect these companies to some extent.
1. Promotional deal abuse
To start with, multiple accounting enables these fraudsters to abuse promotional deals, many of which are meant to be one-off and to help onboard new users.
Depending on the number of users who do this, this could negatively impact the bottom line of the gaming company.
2. Banned users come back
Users get blacklisted or banned from online games with good reason. If there is no measure in place to prevent them from creating a new, fake account, then they are free to get right back to whatever they were doing.
Players who engage in smurfing could discourage new players from the game.
Again, what’s important here is the scale. If it gets to a certain number, the community will become frustrated and the gaming company could start losing a significant number of users.
Popular games like League of Legends and Valorant have especially had problems with smurfing over the last few years.
And how do we mitigate multiple account misuse in gaming? Just like anywhere else: know-your-customer protocols.
How strong KYC prevents Multiple Account Misuse
Know-Your-Customer or KYC is the process in which companies, most usually financial institutions, verify the identity of a client before or while they work together.
The business verifies that their client is one, specific person to prevent the creation of any fake accounts or multiple accounts per person.
Most usually, banking or similar financial institutions will use KYC in their businesses, although KYC use cases have started to arise in other verticals, including gaming.
However, while extremely useful, KYC raises certain red flags as far as the gaming market.
KYC means that gamers would have to submit personal information to verify their identity, but the question of whether they would be ready to do just that has to be asked.
Not only is anonymity almost an unspoken rule of gaming, but you have to count in the user experience, too. A frictionless user experience is important for any industry, especially when it’s one where users are looking for entertainment.
Did you know that a 1-second delay in page load time yields a 7% loss in conversions? Moreover, 60% of users feel they are occasionally, frequently, or always slowed down or blocked from accessing services online, and 43% of all users simply abandon an onboarding process due to the friction.
Losses incurred by the bad user experience would then just bring on another issue which is why it’s imperative that gaming companies ensure the KYC systems they put in the place serve their purpose without hindering the UX.
That’s where our IPMobileID fits in perfectly.
How IPMobile ID enables Anonymous Login in Gaming
IPMobileID verifies a user’s identity in less than one second with only one click.
It works by assigning each user their unique mobile ID key based on their phone data, SIM card data and network data. The users are verified only against their full mobile identity key therefore successfully preventing them from creating multiple accounts.
The only input required from the user is their phone number and their identity is verified within milliseconds making for a frictionless user experience.
Within the Account creation process, if using IPification mobile authentication and KYC solutions, users can create a verified account without filling in any personal data and/or it can create a full account with automatic data pre-fill. Whatever the choice is, by using IPification solutions, one user will always equal one verified account.
Want to know more? Let’s talk!