Over the past decade, the video game market, particularly the online multiplayer platform, has burgeoned. Gaming has become nearly ubiquitous among teenagers and young adults in the United States. As the number of gamers increase, gaming companies are looking for new ways to provide a better user interface, which will enable gamers to search for games of the same genre, or receive notifications and updates on current games they are playing. This is beneficial to both the gamer and the company, as it allows gamers to readily access titles, which will encourage them to play more games, thereby increasing profits and ratings for that particular gaming company. Corporations are able to provide this service, as personal information from the gamer, such as billing information, credit card number, age, and location, are required to participate in the online multiplayer interface.
Although this sounds quite convenient for both parties involved, it poses a danger to the consumer, according to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. According to the commissioner, there are many potential outlets for personal information to leak into, which includes marketers and call centers. These entities could utilize the personal information for advertisement, or if they were unsuccessful with the advertisement, sell the information to other third parties for profit. Both tactics would become a nuisance for the consumer and ruin the gaming experience. Another possible threat is the leakage of email information, which can decimate a user's privacy.
As a gamer myself, this is unsettling, yet according to the commissioner, there are preventative measures that can be taken to minimize any invasion of privacy. For example, it is recommended that strong passwords are implemented, meaning a mixture of certain characters such as upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers, and unique signs. Another useful tip is to give as little information as possible when filling out the initial form to partake in the multiplayer platform. For instance, you must fill out the required information, but there will also be non-required sections such as a second phone number or second address. It is best to leave these blank and only fill out the sections that are required. By incorporating these privacy techniques, you can get back to enjoying the game instead of worrying about your information being released to third parties.