Playing video games is not a free hobby, even if you only decide to play free-to-download/play mobile and PC games. You will still need to spend money via in-game purchases to continue subscriptions and/or purchase in-game items. Now, almost any hobby worth having requires spending at least some money on it, so that is not the issue here, but cybercrime is. Cybercrime affects gamers in more ways than one and the first of those is cheating.
Cheating in eSports
Several reports have been published over the years with extensive details on how cheating is a huge problem in competitive online gaming and eSports in general. This is not just about cheaters having unfair advantages over players in a random online match. These advantages allow cheaters to win thousands, and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in eSports tournaments. When money is at stake and someone is winning unfairly in an online tournament, that qualifies as cybercrime.
Most of the big eSports tournaments require players to be under the same roof, so that they can be regulated. This cannot be applied to minor tournaments, unfortunately, which are conducted online and pretty much throughout the year. In fact, with the pandemic restricting international traveling and social contact, several of the bigger tournaments are also being held online now. This has further added to the problem of cheating in even big eSports tournaments.
Dishonest Gaming Websites & Apps
This particular problem affects online casino players more than any other type of gamers. Unless you are playing exclusively at online casinos officially registered with the Canadian gambling authorities, you could fall victim to anyone or several of the following:
- Withdrawal of winnings will not be allowed to your Canadian bank account
- The casino software might be rigged, giving you zero chances to win from the start
- Phishing sites with names very similar to popular online casinos might try to steal your login and financial information
- You may end up sharing your personal and financial info with several other scam sites automatically after falling victim to just one scam casino
Only play in trusted online casinos with the badges and certificates to prove it.
Hacked Game Accounts
Gamers do not always realize how much value their accounts hold, until they lose them. Phishers may steal a user’s account info, change their password, steal all connected financial information, and harm their reputation in the online gaming community. For example, Steam is the leading PC gaming client and regular PC gamers usually have games, achievements, trophies, points, e-wallets, account credits, credit cards, and other items of direct/indirect financial value attached to their Steam accounts. Losing access to it all can be quite jarring for gamers on several levels.
Other than the direct financial impacts of being hacked, cheated, or scammed in an online gaming environment, there is also the question of demoralization. Whether someone is playing slots or shooters online, it is supposed to be a fair, entertaining experience; a distraction from the hassles of the real world. Getting cheated of one’s hard-earned money even while trying to relax can be extremely demoralizing.