By Rodrigo Tamellini
Knowing that games are played with integrity is one of the most important principles in competitive sports– and Esports are no exception. While competitive integrity is a shared commitment across all sports, there are a few fundamental differences between Esports and traditional sports. Online play opens a new range of possible fraud that generates competitive advantages for fraudsters–especially when considering the role of identity verification.
Here are 5 identity-related challenges that can compromise Esports Integrity:
Smurfing – is the act of masking skill level in tournaments based on player rankings, whereby players with a higher skill level use an alternate (“smurfed”) account to compete against players with lower skill levels. There is a hot debate about whether legitimate reasons for having a smurfed account exist (i.e. a way for players to practice new skills, or simply play casually without compromising their “official” account statistics). However, smurfed accounts inside competitive environments can damage other players by unfairly competing for financial rewards.
Ban Evasion – Esports platforms are always trying to enforce their community guidelines. Consequently, many players are punished or even banned daily. A ban may be caused by cheating or other disruptive behaviors which violate community guidelines. But bans are only successful with robust player identification. The lack of modern player verification processes makes it easy for banned players to “evade” a ban, returning easily under a new username or fake account.
Personification – In an Esports context, personification is the act of pretending to be someone else for the purpose of competitive advantage or undue clout. Pretending being older or younger, for example, might give fraudsters access to competitions they are not eligible for. Another example is paying as another person in order to garner undue clout, e.g. winning prizes, scholarships, or fame, on behalf of another person.
Multiple Accounts – Another common fraud occurs when players exploit competition dynamics by creating and then registering multiple accounts into the same tournament. In so doing, fraudsters can increase their odds of winning and expand match-fixing fraud scenarios.
Account Sharing – Some Esports platforms provide perks and special services to subscribers. A common fraud is performed when one subscribed account is shared by a group rather than an individual. This compromises an Esports platform’s revenue and services integrity and can be difficult to spot without player verification processes.
These are just some of the commonly known identity-based frauds found in Esports. Without a good grasp on player identification, maintaining the public image, popularity, and integrity of Esports is an uphill battle. Savvy Esports platforms are increasingly looking to technology to assist in defending their platforms from fraud.
GamerSafer offers robust player verification tools for Esports platforms to help them promote competition integrity, fair and positive game play from amateur to professional levels.
Contact us to learn how to overcome all those challenges with a single solution!