Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Argument for Gamecards

Cyber-crime is a fact of life nowadays. These incidents happen despite all efforts by companies and consumers to prevent them. So it comes as no surprise that in the realm of internet gaming, cyber-crime has reared its ugly head.

Most people following the news would know of the massive attack on Sony-owned properties a few weeks ago that knocked out their PS3 online system as well as games like DC Online. What most people probably do not know that following that successful attack on Sony, a series of smaller gaming companies has also been attacked by hackers.

The list of companies that suffered attacks includes Epic Games, Codemasters, Nintendo, Bethesda and CCP. CCP’s online game, Eve Online, was even shut for hours due to the attacks. The company says that the shutdown is a security precaution and personal information of their customers remains secure.

Reading between the lines, one can easily conclude that the hackers were after personal information of the companies’ customers. Information like credit card details are stored in the companies’ database and if hackers get their hands on such info, this would mean huge trouble for everyone.

With this in mind, gaming companies should look into safer avenue for their customers to make payment. To me, the safest is without question gaming time cards. I have always used 60-days gamecards for every subscription MMORPGs I’ve played even though it was cheaper for me to just make payment through credit cards.

Attacks like these are what make me think I had made the right decision. However there are many games/companies that do not have the gamecards option and I believe this is something that need to change. Cyber-attacks like Sony’s are shaking consumer’s confidence in the security of their personal info and that will make consumers less likely to play the games in the future.

Having an option like gamecards is in the interest of all concern as it is safe for consumers and companies need not worry about online attacks from hackers trying to get their hands on personal info. Hopefully Bioware’s upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic will have the gamecard option as well. With all the recent attacks, I for one am worried about cyber security.

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