MMO Business Roundup: Germany, lockboxes, Distintegration, and CCP vs. the bots

    
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See! It's a robot in a jacket.

Welcome back to another quick rundown of MMO and MMO-adjacent industry news.

German lockboxes: We’ve gone through two full cycles of lockbox backlash in the last decade, and I thought we might be about to embark on a third, as yesterday headlines lit up around the industry about Germany’s plan to reform abusive monetization in gaming. However, it appears that those headlines were led astray by an error in the Bundestag’s own announcement about said reform. The short version is that yes, the Germany government is seeking to bolster protections for children in regard to online platforms and games, including identifying “cost traps” like lootboxes/lockboxes. But the government removed its assertion that it sought to “deactivate cost traps such as ‘loot boxes’ by default.” (via Eurogamer)

More lockboxes: Of course, game companies have little to fear in the short term, as lockbox gambling is still running rampant throughout the industry with few checks on them. According to a report by Juniper Research (via GIbiz), lootboxes will generate over $20 billion per year by 2025, touching as many as 230M gamers annually – more than half of that in East Asia. Lockboxes generated $15M last year alone.

Disintegration: Multiplayer shooter Disintegration shut down its multiplayer servers last fall after only a few months online, so this bit of news isn’t entirely unexpected, but it’s still sad, as the company behind the game, V1 Interactive, announced it that it’s shuttering the entire studio. “[We] are making this decision now, so they still have ample time to search for new jobs while being supported by our studio,” the V1 president wrote.

CCP vs. the bots: Cloudflare has a piece up offering a “case study” on efforts between it and CCP Games to stymie DDOS attacks and bots in EVE Online. It’s part advertisement, yes, but it does give some insight as to what CCP is up to in this fight:

“For some time, CCP Games’ attempts to mitigate DDoS attacks were less than effective. Herring says that internal efforts were complicated by CCP Games’ unusual infrastructure, which requires both a TCP proxy and an IP proxy. ‘Our game ports use the TCP protocol, and we were putting a lot of effort into traffic identification, tuning, and earmarking, but nothing was working,” Herring says. ‘Additionally, attackers knew what our IP addresses were, so they were coming after us there, too.'”

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MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

DDOS attacks are mitigable, but you need an active, aggressive team with ‘eyes on glass’ monitoring things 24/7. It just takes a small team of 3-5 people with a solid knowledge of regex who are empowered to make decisions that no risk-averse AAA studio can stomach. Such attacks can be countered, but you can’t do it without empowering people to fight them. It’s a constant battle and your people need to be smart, dedicated and aggressive, with no easy, safe way to throw money at solving the problem.

DDOS attacks are countered by active monitoring and dynamic filtering. You can’t buy that sort of work as an out-of-the-box solution. The bots can’t hack.

Corporate cowards allow this to happen.

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squid

Lockboxes generated $15M last year alone.

Should that be $15B? $15M sounds like chump change for lockboxes. Or perhaps “last Wednesday alone.”