The gaming industry is one of the most prospering and significant business segments, generating billions of dollars in revenue annually and attracting numerous active players from all over the world at different ages. While offering immense opportunities for entertainment companies to expand and grow revenue, it poses challenges, such as drawing and retaining loyal users in a crowded marketplace. Besides excellent solutions, immersive and seamless experiences or fancy loyalty programmes, building secure and friendly environments can be critical for gaming providers to make players feel at home. This is where the Trust & Safety (T&S) initiative for gaming companies comes to the fore.
Trust & Safety is an undertaking that allows organisations and communities to preserve the security and well-being of any internet user. With relevant measures, policies, procedures or technologies, and ultimately, Content Moderation that stands guard over any digital content, T&S strategy can help gaming providers efficiently protect individuals from any online harm while establishing a safe and welcoming virtual environment for everyone. When feeling secure, players are more likely to engage with the platform and have a positive overall gaming experience. This contributes to building credibility and trust, turning online users into loyal advocates, encouraging others to participate in the digital community and ultimately helping the brand grow.
To fully grasp the significance of Trust & Safety for gaming, it is, however, crucial to understand the specificity of the industry and identify the risks it faces while protecting players and maintaining the integrity of the games. Additionally, it is necessary to analyse key T&S measures and strategies that companies can adopt and select the ones that best suit the goal of ensuring players’ protection accordingly.
Supposing someone is not entirely sure whether such an approach is genuinely essential, the doubts can be quickly dispelled with data and facts, as revealed by the ADL Center for Technology & Society’s “Free to Play” 2020 survey results. According to that, “81% of respondents experienced harassment when playing virtually, and 68% faced severe bullying, including physical threats, identity-based discrimination, sustained sexual harassment, and stalking”.
Given the prevalence of the scale of aggressive behaviour and in-game abuse, it is undeniable that Trust & Safety is necessary and even critical for gaming to provide great entertainment in a safe place that you want to return to as often as possible, alone or with friends, but always with the conviction that it is worth doing. Let’s delve deeper into the topic, then.
The role of T&S in protecting online gaming interactions and players
With the industry’s rapid growth, increasing popularity and accessibility for other waves of fans, online gaming communities are becoming even more vulnerable to harassment and delinquent behaviour as they are getting more crowded and fuller of diversity.
The boom was especially noticeable during the pandemic, when the gaming segment expansion accelerated significantly, and many new players joined online societies seeking interactions with other users, entertainment, and a way to cope with the mental health challenges caused by lockdown and isolation. Referring to data published by the World Economic Forum, “So many existing and new gamers splashed out on games, consoles and another kit during the pandemic that the market expanded by 26% between 2019 and 2021”.
Moreover, looking at other data sources, it is possible to have a better view of the industry’s current state and future trends. A good example is Statista offering valuable insights into the number of gamers and their most significant reach, as well as predicting the expected shifts in the upcoming years:
In 2022, there were an estimated 1 billion online gamers worldwide.
China, South Korea, and Japan have the biggest online gaming reach among the population.
In 2025, online gaming audiences are projected to surpass 1.3 billion.
What makes gaming communities vulnerable to cybercrimes?
Along with the growth and dealing with such a dynamic group of users, numerous variables, and immense freedom of action and expression, ensuring safety for all the players is getting increasingly demanding. Several factors that have the most significant impact on the risk of inappropriate interactions, cyber threats, malicious activity, cheating, fraud, data privacy theft or harmful behaviour can be outlined. Among them, the most essential are as follows:
- First and foremost, gaming societies gather a mix of individuals representing different levels of digital literacy, social awareness, honesty, ethical values and many approaches to acting by social norms and law regulations.
- In addition, while interacting with one another virtually and, in most cases joining digital communities under a pseudonym from diverse locations and jurisdictions or using multiple different accounts, it is much harder to identify and track virtual personas suspected of violating rules or committing crimes.
- Moreover, while being a thrilling and competitive undertaking, e-sport is also associated with potential risks such as unethical or aggressive activities, cheating and other forms of misconduct.
- What is also important, online gaming can sometimes promote gambling by providing elements of chance or randomness, which can initiate addictions and are especially dangerous for younger players.
- Lastly, in some cases, e-sport involves a lot of money spent on specific items, events or initiatives. It may create opportunities for unfair behaviour, such as cheating or exploiting vulnerabilities in the system and acting against the law to get rich quickly but dishonestly.
Safety measures for gamers’ protection
Considering the risks mentioned above and potential threats, it is increasingly imperative to implement robust Trust & Safety measures to maintain the protection and well-being of all gaming participants. Well-crafted and efficiently executed T&S strategy can help address the challenges through different components tailored to meet your needs and adapt to changing circumstances.
The recommended approach for a Trust & Safety strategy for gaming involves focusing on several key elements, such as:
Guidelines on acceptable behaviour
It involves providing clear, enforced community guidelines and terms of service to inform all players of acceptable behaviour within the gaming community and what activities are prohibited. This approach should be accompanied by ongoing monitoring, assessment, and refinement of Trust & Safety procedures to ensure continuous compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, social norms, and manufacturer’s policies.
Cyber security measures
Critical cyber security measures in gaming are crucial for creating a safe digital environment. Among them are encryption and secure data transmission, security audits, frequent updates and patches, and embedding multi-factor authentication tools. All these measures help to protect users’ sensitive information, provide prevention against cyber-attacks and allow for quicker resolution of security issues.
Data privacy initiatives
It is a very important undertaking aiming to safeguard users’ privacy and personal data that gaming solutions providers increasingly collect, store and process. It is, therefore, vital to implement measures that prevent unauthorised access, misuse, or theft of personal information and provide transparency for all users while constantly staying up-to-date with changing regulations. What should be avoided is manipulative or invasive data-driven profiling, sharing data with third parties and excessive data collection. Privacy should also be balanced with freedom of speech and expression when protecting personal information.
Multi-dimensional Content Moderation
Content Moderation for gaming typically involves monitoring, screening, and removing inappropriate user-generated content in order to create a friendly environment for all users. Using a combination of human moderators, automated filters, and AI-driven tools, platforms can ensure – reactively and proactively, that inappropriate content is swiftly identified and dealt with, and adequate actions are taken to address potential violations and respond promptly. This approach promotes care, trust, and credibility, and helps to guard users against harmful or offensive content very efficiently.
Protection of virtual assets
It allows for detecting and preventing unauthorised transactions, regularly reviewing user activity for suspicious behaviour, and securing the storage and transfer of virtual assets. These include digital wallets, blockchain technology, two-factor authentication, encryptions and monitoring.
User reporting capability
The initiative allows players to report potential violations by alerting the platform’s moderators to incidents, enabling them to investigate and address issues quickly. This concept promotes a sense of community and a common goal and ultimately contributes to a more enjoyable experience for all gamers.
Protecting vulnerable gamers: children and gamblers
Two types of gamers are particularly at risk of the potential harms of online gaming: children and individuals susceptible to gambling addiction. Therefore, they should be given special protection through an appropriate T&S strategy, even though it typically focuses on cybersecurity issues:
- In the case of children’s digital security, a comprehensive Trust & Safety approach should provide an age verification system, implement strong privacy measures, limit access to certain games, cover relevant moderation focusing on content unsuitable for the youngest, and promote educational activities that increase the awareness of children and families about the threats that may appear when playing virtual games.
- Considering the gambling risk, the T&S initiative should encourage healthy gaming habits and promote awareness of the dangers of addictive behaviours. In addition, it may include age limitations for gambling content, offering responsible gambling tools, monitoring any signs of gambling problems among players, and providing support for addicted users such as a helpline or a list of suggested support centres.
The role of AI and human touch in T&S initiatives for gaming
When working together within the Trust & Safety undertaking, technology and human touch can make a considerable difference in building a digital environment that is secure and inviting for gamers.
AI-powered systems can help analyse large volumes of data efficiently to identify potential violations and provide real-time responses based on user-friendly reporting mechanisms, enabling the flag of potentially harmful content. Then moderation agents should come into play and review flagged content before making a final decision. It is especially true when handling more complex issues that require contextual understanding, empathy and decision-making skills that AI still need to possess.
Happy and secure gamers in the metaverse
Metaverse gaming presents unique challenges that require special care and protection. While being a fully immersive experience digital space where people interact with each other, share content and engage in commercial or social activities, the metaverse is even more endangered by different forms of cybercrime than online gaming.
The complexity of the emerging metaverse makes it constantly evolve, with security protocols still being refined, lack of relevant legislation and appearing technological limitations, leaving it more vulnerable to potential threats. This is what the New York Times says on the dark side of the metaverse in one of the articles. According to this, “The metaverse can facilitate more severe bad behaviour than traditional online harassment and bullying. This is due to the immersive character of the digital environment, where virtual actions can feel real and significantly impact users”.
Therefore, a new Trust & Safety approach is needed for the metaverse to bring together the communities and prevent harmful actions that violate their guidelines. The one that enables dealing with the specific security challenges of immersive virtual reality while simultaneously facing the dilemma of balancing safety and freedom of expression and efficiently protecting individuals from various forms of abuse, user anonymity and identity theft, cheating, or any other potential risks that may arise in this unique digital space.
When T&S outsourcing is the right solution
Outsourcing Trust & Safety can be wise for entertainment organisations that lack in-house resources or expertise, face a high volume of user inquiries or moderation tasks, or want to reduce operational costs while providing secure and safe user experiences.
A right Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider should primarily offer tailored T&S services that meet a gaming company’s specific needs. The ones that precisely consider its target audience, location, languages used, and unique regulatory environment while enabling it to adapt to different types of user groups, follow their cultural and social norms and evolve services as the gaming industry and regulatory landscape change over time. Additional advantages are relevant industry knowledge and experience, the capability to handle many digital issues and content multilingually, and robust technology infrastructure to mitigate potential threats.
The gaming industry is a lucrative and promising business, increasing revenue annually. However, being entirely digital, it is also vulnerable to different risks that can negatively impact players and gaming providers, damaging their reputations and leading to loss of trust and users. Implementing a well-designed Trust & Safety approach can effectively address these issues and shield players from harassment and hostile conduct.
What is worth remembering?
As more users participate in online gaming, there is a growing potential for security breaches, offensive behaviour and negative interactions, such as harassment and cybercrime.
In addition, due to the nature of the gaming industry and the high degree of anonymity, it allows, it is particularly vulnerable to various types of threats and risks.
Gaming providers should, therefore, build effective Trust & Safety strategies and use efficiency measures to ensure the well-being of their players.
These include promoting behaviour guidelines, implementing cyber security measures, enabling data privacy, moderating content, protecting virtual assets, enhancing user reporting, and focusing special care on children and gamblers.
Balancing AI-driven tools with human effort is necessary to provide T&S services in a timely, accurate, and equitable manner while incorporating compassion and human intelligence into the final decision-making process.
The right BPO provider can support e-gaming businesses with relevant knowledge and expertise while catering services to the industry’s specificity, regulatory and compliance requirements.