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As eSports become more popular, time for the industry to get real about security



Reading Time: 4 minutes


Police in Ukraine recently seized 3,800 PlayStation 4 consoles, which currently retail for around 290 each, and found to their surprise that the operation wasn’t mining cryptocurrency as they assumed but was in fact being used to generate content packs for FIFA Ultimate Team, a popular game mode in the FIFA football series.

The raid and its results underline a fact that may escape more traditionally minded members of the gaming community: eSports is a major industry, and like any industry it is susceptible to fraud. The fact that the games themselves take place virtually is irrelevant to fraudsters who can use the familiar toolkit of multi-accounting, bonus abuse and affiliate fraud to earn thousands.

With many sports teams unable to play throughout much of 2020 and 2021, eSports grew massively. League Championship Series (LCS), one of the largest eSports leagues, became the third most viewed professional sports league amongst 18-34 year olds in the U.S and has retained its corporate sponsors at a time when other leagues were shut down. Success stories like these are blunted by how pervasive eSports fraud is,

So, what kinds of fraud are taking place in eSports, what is it costing eSports organizations and what can be done to stop it?

What kinds of fraud are possible in eSports?

eSports attracts very similar types of fraud to regular sports betting, including:

  • Bonus Abuse: Like other sports betting companies, eSports companies often give sign-up bonuses such as free bets to new players. By coding automated systems, a fraudster can sign up to hundreds of accounts and use the free bets to win real money. This can cost gaming companies up to 15% of their revenue.
  • Multi-accounting: Similarly, a fraudster can use multiple accounts to perform other types of fraud, such as matched betting, ‘smurfing’ or arbitrage of affiliate fraud.
  • Affiliate Fraud: Those eSports betting organizations that draw in some of their new players from affiliates are vulnerable to affiliate fraud in which an affiliate creates fake accounts to gain the pay-out.
  • Account takeover: Using lists of passwords from data breaches, keyloggers or phishing a fraudster can gain access to a player’s account and drain their funds.
  • Chargeback fraud: A player, who may be a legitimate gamer and not a professional fraudster, initiates a chargeback on a transaction. This is common in gaming when gamblers regret a bad bet and claim that their account was hacked.

The costs of eSports fraud

Fraud costs have a way of snowballing, with each $1 lost through fraud actually costing companies $3. The above techniques are hardly equivalent to the major data breaches of major banking and tech companies that cost on average $3.86 million, but the constant barrage of low-level frauds can soon drain your company’s security budget. Aside from the cost of the fraud itself, there are a number of hidden costs such as:

  • Chargeback losses: Investigating and disputing chargebacks will take up your risk team’s time, leaving them little time for more valuable activities. More worryingly, a company with a large number of chargebacks is likely to find it difficult securing credit or loans. Visa and Mastercard’s resolution processes are making things even more difficult for merchants, so you are likely to lose even more.
  • Affiliate budget waste: You could be paying for useless clicks from bot networks rather than legitimate customers, wasting your marketing budget and reducing overall ROI.
  • Reputational damage: Once word of mouth spreads about customers losing the entire bank accounts to account takeovers it will not be long until players start deserting your site.
  • Regulatory fines: The regulations around eSports are not as stringent as with other sports betting, but it will not be long before they catch up. With the industry growing it will not be long before countries put regulations in place to protect players, and without stringent security your company could be fined.

The solutions

You will notice that the majority of the types of fraud common in eSports have to do with fake accounts. These are easy for fraudsters to create using the wealth of publicly available data and leaked information, but fortunately artificial intelligence-based tools have been developed that allow companies to spot synthetic identities.

Through device fingerprinting, email profiling and IP analysis a complete picture of a new signup to your site can be created, allowing software to spot the tell-tale signs of a hastily created account. For example, it could find that an email address does not match any social accounts, or that they use VPNs and data centers to conceal their IP address.

Of course, a sophisticated fraudster could create a convincing fake identity, especially with the wealth of information available from data dumps, so modern technology can also spot the use of pre-paid credit cards or even the speed with which information is entered, which could indicate it is being filled in automatically by a script.

By combining data points from a large and ever-growing set a system can determine whether it is likely that any given new account is fraudulent. For the many cases in which it will not be fully clear whether an account is authentic or not adaptive Know Your Customer checks can be used – customers with several red flags will be given full tests to determine their identity whereas other customers will have less obtrusive tests for a smoother site experience.

eSports has gone from a niche concern to an Olympic sport in a few short years, and that success is going to attract fraud, so it is vital for the industry to pre-emptively defend against fraud by adopting the very highest levels of security.

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Galaxy Racer appoints new Head of Marketing, India & South Asia



Galaxy Racer appoints new Head of Marketing, India & South Asia
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Former Garena Esports Project Manager for India, Romeo Misao, joins Galaxy Racer to head up the organisation’s rapid expansion plans for the region

Galaxy Racer (GXR), one of the fastest-growing esports, gaming and lifestyle organizations in the world, headquartered in Dubai, has announced the appointment of Romeo Misao as the Head of Marketing for India and South Asia. The announcement follows the organisation’s spate of new hires globally and the recent signing of Galaxy Racer’s Chief Marketing Officer, Allan Phang. 

Misao will lead the best-in-class regional marketing initiatives for both Galaxy Racer and Nigma Galaxy, the competitive esports division of Galaxy Racer, focusing on the company’s aggressive expansion plans across India and the South Asia region.

Misao was previously the first esports hire in India for Free Fire, the award-winning mobile Battle Royale game by the leading game’s publisher, Garena. He led and executed esports initiatives for Free Fire in India and Bangladesh as their Esports Project Manager. 

He spearheaded and launched the leading premium esports IPs in India that went on to be record-breaking such as the Free Fire India Championship Fall 2020 with 300,000 concurrent viewership and the Free Fire World Series, Singapore 2021 with 1.9 million concurrent viewership on local Hindi language streams.

Misao has also worked for award-winning brand BenQ-Zowie, where he drove gaming and esports projects and contributed to the success of the brand’s ranking as the No. 1 Gaming Monitor. He led all Marketing and Communications for US leading display brand, ViewSonic in India and contributed to the growth of the brand in the major display product line with a Top 3 ranking in India. This positioned the brand among the top display segments which led to major collaborative promotional projects with leading games publishers such as Tencent.

Galaxy Racer was founded in 2019 and currently has over 100 content creators across Middle East North Africa (MENA) and Southeast Asia (SEA), amassing over 370 million followers and generating over 2 billion monthly views.

Nigma Galaxy, the merger between Team Nigma,  champions of The International 7 Dota 2, and Galaxy Racer, will be leading the competitive esports team division, with an impressive roster of twelve esports teams in Dota 2, League of Legends, CS:GO, Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, BGMI and Free Fire, with over 60 male and female esports athletes from over 20 countries.

Allan Phang, Chief Marketing Officer of Galaxy Racer commented, “Romeo’s vast marketing experience and deep knowledge of the Indian esports industry is vital as part of our strategic initiatives for India. His work is exceptional and I am looking forward to working together with him. As Galaxy Racer pushes forward with our aggressive expansion plans, having a leader of his calibre is important to spearhead our marketing campaigns. We look forward to having Romeo onboard with us. Welcome to our galaxy!”

Romeo Misao, Head of Marketing, India and South Asia of Galaxy Racer commented, “I am excited to be working at Galaxy Racer, one of the fastest-growing esports, gaming and lifestyle organisations globally. I look forward to working with Allan and my fellow colleagues as we look to partner with brands who are interested in targeting Gen Z and Millennials. I cannot wait to unleash the awesome marketing initiatives I have in store for the Indian market and to put Galaxy Racer, Nigma Galaxy and India on the world map in the global esports industry.”

Galaxy Racer is creating a true 360-degree esports, gaming, content and lifestyle brand. Their group company, Riva Technology and Entertainment (RTE), have secured a strong streak of acquisitions, partnerships and brand licensing deals, including the iconic comic book series publisher Dark Horse Comics, with RTE producing multiple mobile games based on the massively successful The Umbrella Academy comic books and Netflix series.

Earlier this year, RTE invested in multiple companies including SUB2r who produce broadcast-quality streaming video cameras, Recast an over-the-top (OTT) platform, My LADS, an Augmented Reality (AR) technology engagement firm which powers fan engagement, the leading games publisher Rogue Games and OKLetsPlay, the leading platform for players to compete each other in competitions against other players across the world. 

RTE also owns a majority stake in global games producer Firefly Games, who have experience working with major studios and brands for world-renowned intellectual properties (IP) from Dreamworks Animation, NBC Universal, Skydance Media, and now MGA Entertainment, a consumer entertainment products company, to produce and publish mobile games based on their hit properties L.O.L Surprise!™ and Rainbow High, both featured on Netflix.

Galaxy Racer has recently brought onboard former Disney executive Guenther Hake, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Consumer Products in Greater China and CEO at Oriental DreamWorks, who will be assisting in an advisory role with Galaxy Racer’s brand partnerships, consumer products, apparel and merchandising endeavours. 

Galaxy Racer has also recruited Danny Lopez as Chief Content Officer, who was formerly the Director of Brand and Content at Guild Esports, an esports team co-owned by David Beckham, where he led the creative content development and execution across the board.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes


Borgen brings twenty years of mobile product management and regulatory expertise

Ulrik Borgen, has joined Shape Games as Director of Account Management, bringing nearly 10 years of online gaming and regulatory experience to the executive team as Shape Games continues its expansion plans across the United States online gaming market and beyond, the company announced today.

Borgen is the former PMO Director of Danske Spil and led the transition of the state-run online gaming company as the Danish market opened to private competition in 2012. Danske Spil has maintained its market leadership in the face of competition from the major global online gaming companies. Borgen leveraged his decade at Nokia where he led mobile product development.

“Ulrik is a mobile product innovator who knows how to beat the competition by delivering what consumers want, even before they know they want it”, said Risom. “His expertise in being a public sector operator and developing industry-leading products within complex regulatory environments complements our deep bench of commercial gaming expertise.”

Borgen said: “Shape Games has a strong track record in the successful combination of innovative, seamless and customer focused user experience with the attention to compliance to give users peace of mind and security. I’m happy to be part of the exciting next phase of the company’s growth and bring my knowledge of helping companies navigate regulatory requirements to maximise their growth and user experiences.”

Shape is a leading consumer app developer for major global brands and recently created Shape Games to address the specific needs of the online gambling industry. Co-founders CEO Christian Risom, CIO Ole Gammelgaard, CDO Nicolas Linde and CTO Philip Bruce have created consumer apps for leading global brands including Apple, ebay, IKEA and Red Bull. Shape also has a long history with Danske Spil, Denmark’s state-run gambling operator of Oddset, the leading Danish online sportsbook and with whom the company has won several industry awards for innovation.


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Microgravity announces winners of MGL Call of Duty: Mobile tournament



Microgravity announces winners of MGL Call of Duty: Mobile tournament
Reading Time: 3 minutes


Microgravity Ventures Private Limited, a facilitator of world-class gaming hubs and eSports tournaments in India, announced the winners of Microgravity Gaming League – MGL Call of Duty: Mobile, Team Deathmatch tournament. The two-day eSports tournament was held on 25 & 26 September in partnership with Battlefy. Top Call of Duty Squads from across the country competed against each other in a single eliminator format-based tournament in 5v5 multiplayer mode. All the participants were above 18 years of age and included professionals, enthusiasts and casual gamers.

The mightiest Call of Duty squads had to go through three phases – Qualifier Phase, Battle Phase and Zero Hour Phase. All the qualified squads competed against each other across multiple rounds in the Battle Phase. This phase was held in a single eliminator format-based tournament in 5v5 multiplayer mode. The top 8 squads were shortlisted for the quarter finals, semifinals and finals under the Zero Hour Phase and competed in a best of 3 format. The top 2 squads – True Rippers Esports & Team SUPREMACY battled against each other in the grand finale with True Rippers Esports coming out on top to conquer the Microgravity Gaming League (Freedom Month Special) – Call of Duty: Mobile tournament. The eSport tournament also witnessed some exceptional women gamers who were named #GamerGoddesses for their mind-blowing gaming skills.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Rahul Bhattacharya, Co-Founder and MD, Microgravity said “It was great to see squads from across the country participating and showing their best gamer skills in MGL Call of Duty: Mobile Tournament. The momentum and the quality of content backed with human interaction has taken this tournament to next level. We saw some intense competitions and some fantastic gameplays in all three Phases. We would like to congratulate True Ripper Esports, who conquered this league and all the other participants, including our GamerGoddesses who pushed their boundaries with great enthusiasm. India has some extraordinary talent and we are looking to continue hosting more such tournaments. We aim to enable gamers to become leaders in the gaming space while taking online gaming to a new high.”

Microgravity gave an overall prize pool of over Rs. 1,00,000 to the winners. The tournament winners, True Rippers Esports won Rs. 35,000 for their top-notch performance and for rising as the conquers of the tournament. The 1st runner up Team SUPREMACY and 2nd runner-up Bounty Hunterz won Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 15,000 respectively. ChieZze from True Rippers with 68 kills was the Top Fragger and took home a prize of Rs. 5,000. Oggy from Team SUPREMACY with 21 assists won Rs. 5,000 for the Most Assisted Kills. The #GamerGoddesses crown was given to DhruviOO7 and SnippetSnipe, who were the top-ranked women gamers and split the winning prize of Rs. 20,000. Additionally, 5 lucky viewers won a prize voucher of Rs.1,000 each for answering questions during the live feed and for showing their unconditional support.

On winning the Call of Duty: Mobile Tournament, Real Nimrod of True Rippers Esports added “I am really proud of my team who outperformed today and it was an amazing experience competing against several competitive squads across the country. This tournament is a great encouragement for the Indian gaming community and we feel honoured to be a part of it. We are very grateful to Microgravity for providing this opportunity to budding gamers and motivating them to do better.”

Microgravity has successfully organized three online gaming tournaments previously across PC, Mobile and Play Station which gained significant traction amongst online gamers. In May 2021, the MGL FIFA 2021 tournament was held which drew significant engagement from FIFA wizards with 3,000 registrations and 4 million impressions from across the country. MGL Free Fire was held during August and September 2020 with over 2.2 million impressions and over 20 thousand participants. Similarly, MGL Call of Duty: Mobile was organized in December 2020 and reported over 8 lakh impressions.

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