The PSN security crisis – which saw personal data of 77m customers stolen and forced Sony’s online games service offline for over two weeks – is a warning to the games industry.
That’s according to UK experts hoping to grow their own digital businesses. These execs say the industry needs to learn and move on from the security hack to expand the digital marketplace.
“The PSN breach illustrates that as gaming becomes more inter-connected, more multi-player, more digital, the skills needed to operate that are a bit different,” GAME CEO Ian Shepherd told MCV. The retailer announced this week that it made £41m from digital in its last financial year.
“Subscription management, data security and all of those things come much to the fore. And that is something the games industry at large needs to take stock of and really give some thought to.”
Green Man Gaming boss Paul Sulyok added: “In this day and age of global digital retailing, the holders of personal information have an absolute duty to protect that information – fail at your peril.
“If you do fail, you destroy your customers’ trust and the whole deck of cards collapses. This could seriously harm Sony.
“There are two types of person who do this – the malicious criminal and the freedom fighter.
“The freedom fighter does it because there is a barrier there that in their opinion should not be there – and therefore they try and destroy it. In the world of games, the barrier is closed environments, such as PSN.
“Open markets such as the PC games market have no barriers and as such do not suffer from the freedom fighter effect as much. It is yet another example of the impact of artificial monopolies. If the PS3 digital retail market was as open as the PC market, maybe their troubles would not have happened.”
CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE
Mastertronic Group’s MD Andy Payne says digital is making progress, but the latest incident is a warning.
“Progress is being made, the rise of digital distribution will mean we will see original ideas as well as mega franchised products being available at a variety of price points,” he said.
“The hack experienced by Sony is a reflection of society itself. Whether criminally motivated or not, and I personally doubt it is, it is a wake up call. No walled gardens are ever 100 per cent secure, no matter what companies tell us. Digital distribution means products can be delivered quicker and cheaper but the same can be said about all data including bank details. Cyber crime is here to stay.”
Digital developers are concerned the impact of the breach could impact consumer confidence.
Studio head at developer Double Six James Brooksby said: “My greater concern is how this will affect game consumers’ behaviour across all digital platforms including PSN, XBLA, Steam, iTunes and the rest.
“Consumers have been ready to buy games online, and this may rock their confidence and become a set back that affects us all.
“Of course, it’s only a blip, but one that the world of digital games delivery could do without. Time will tell.”