Steve Hicks, Head of Global Sales at BullGuard, discusses how gamers can still enjoy high-performance gaming and be fully protected…
Something like 35 million people in the UK play online games. It’s a phenomenal number given that the total UK population is estimated to be 66 million and illustrates just how much gaming has become an everyday facet of life. During the lockdown, we wanted to take the pulse of gamers to get a sense of how they were coping with the restrictions. We partnered with system and gaming rig builder, Chillblast, to carry out a survey and discovered that for nearly half, gaming alleviated anxiety and for most, it helped them deal with the current Covid-19 situation.
We also discovered that 84% of gamers are using antivirus, enabling them to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals who are taking advantage of the pandemic. This is encouraging and shows good awareness of the threats posed to gamers. However, 20% either don’t have antivirus installed or turn it off when gaming. That’s 13 million potentially vulnerable people which is clearly a worryingly large number.
Flipping this on its head, it’s also an opportunity for resellers to educate their customer base about the need for cybersecurity. UK gaming has experienced a significant growth in recent years and according to recent estimates, is the largest in Europe. A study by investment bank Liberum revealed that the gaming sector is growing on average 30% year-on-year and is set to be worth £10 billion by 2023.
Gamers are a financially juicy target for cybercriminals. They spend lots of money, often on in-game purchases. According to the Akamai 2019 State of the Internet/Security Web Attacks and Gaming Abuse Report, 12 billion credential-stuffing attacks were carried out against gaming websites, that is, platforms that gamers use to access games. To put this in context, across all industries there were 55 billion credential-stuffing attacks.
Malware is also an ever-present danger. Research from early June 2018 to early June 2019 revealed that 930,000 gamers were hit by fake games that actually spread malware. The fake games emulated some of the most popular games at the time, such as Minecraft, GTA 5, and Sims 4. Spoofs, containing malware, of at least 10 pre-release games were also detected, especially for FIFA 20, Borderlands 3 and The Elder Scrolls 6.
So why do so many gamers turn off antivirus protection when gaming or don’t run protection software? In short, it slows gaming down and they want the best performance possible. BullGuard has addressed this issue with the inclusion of its bespoke patented Game Booster feature in BullGuard Internet Security and BullGuard Premium Protection. Tests revealed that Game Booster actually increases the speed of gaming, delivering more frame rates per second (FPS) during games. It even delivers a faster FPS than games that are running on computers without antivirus protection.
During the test carried out by Chillblast, BullGuard Game Booster performance was measured against five other software security suites; Norton Internet Security, McAfee Internet Security, Kaspersky Internet Security, AVG Internet Security, and Windows Defender. BullGuard beat them all by a significant distance, with a score of 6650 and beating a second-placed computer running without AV which scored 6574. This is proof that gamers can still enjoy high-performance gaming and be fully protected at the same time.
BullGuard’s Game Booster automatically detects users’ gaming sessions and pulls both user processes – such as applications opened or in use by users like Word, PowerPoint, Chrome, and Winamp – and system processes onto 1 or 2 CPU cores, leaving the rest of the CPU cores to handle the game. This completely removes random game spikes which negatively affect the user experience. In short, Game Booster ensures uninterrupted gaming at a faster pace.
This provides vendors and system builders with a great opportunity to boost their revenues by bundling BullGuard Internet Security for free onto their systems as a BullGuard partner. BullGuard partners become members of an industry-leading programme that provides first-class support and substantial financial rewards.
A whopping €19 million in revenue share has been paid to partners since 2010 thanks to a 25% share of online revenue from all renewals for the life of the product. With over 85% of customers repeatedly renewing their license, it’s a significant income generator.
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