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Your Personal MMO Information is Worth About $2,500-$10,000

An MMO data report puts a $2,500-$10,000 price tag on everyone's personal game data, taking data mining to a whole new extreme.

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Amidst an eruption of personal information and space violations, the place many people use as an escape might not be as safe as anyone guessed. 

With the new speculations of Facebook tracking your messages, Google following your every GPS route, and an ongoing war with our government allegedly spying on all of us, it might not come as a surprise that popular MMO player data has been placed for sale via a gamer case study. 

Not only are they selling our MMO gaming data, but they're raking in a pretty steep price of $2,500-$10,000.

What Kind of Report Are We Talking About Here?

According to ReportBuyer.com, this case study includes a general overview of popular MMO games, why they're so popular, general revenue models, and their expected growth in the general future. 

That doesn't seem too unruly, right? Well, taking a look through the table of contents, you'll see a section titled: "Exhibit 3: Global Gaming Market Segmentation by Type"

Defining Market Segmentation

For those who are unfamiliar with the term "Market Segmentation," Travis Bennett, on Udemy.com, sheds light:

The needs of individual customers differ, so it makes sense that a business creates separate offers for each segment of the market. This gives customers a better solution (whether it’s a product or a service), and helps raise profitability in the entire business.

So basically, they're grouping us into categories to better market their product to our greedy fingertips. However, when you look at some market segmentation categories, you might understand why this news is slightly unsettling: 

  • Taste
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Opinion
  • Education
  • Lifestyle
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • etc.

Along with market segmentation, other alarming headings of the table of contents include our "Payment Methods," "Game Market by Geographical Segmentation 2013," and other general game data to test how MMOs compete against each other. 

Ethical or an Invasion of Our Privacy?

As a recent graduate of an advertising program, this case study doesn't seem too out there in terms of accessing inappropriate data.

On the other hand, it might take some players off-guard to hear that the major contributors to this study include Blizzard, Electronic Arts, NCSOFT Corp., and more names most gamers would recognize. 

It seems that data mining is a real thing ladies and gentlemen, but the question still remains: 

Is collecting our MMO gaming data an ethical practice, since it could help developers fine tune games to our preference?

Or, since anyone with $2,500-$10,000 laying around can access it, is that the price our personal payment methods, age, geography, etc. is worth to be exploited? 

Seems a little fishy to me.

Originally Published Aug. 23rd 2014

Featured Columnist

I'm a lover of all things Halo, League of Legends, and cosplay. You can find me on Twitter at @elleimarie!

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Comments
  • 18
    Chai Chien Liang 3 months ago
    Contributor
    Wow so basically those people who hack into servers which contain user info (like League of Legends/Playstation Network etc.) could get a hefty sum by selling all the info

    Interesting that our personal info is worth more than our actual MMO game account itself
  • 25
    Travis McGee 3 months ago
    Featured Correspondent
    In a society where it seems unlikely to think that the majority of our information isn't being tracked by someone (whether government, private entities, or public corporations) I can't say I'm surprised by this information - except for maybe the price tag which is actually reasonable when you consider the amount of money a company could make off this information.

    That said, I guess the only thing that bothers me here is I feel a little like the gamers should see some of that money. I mean, we are the ones generating the data after all. So, I would say if a company uses this information to design and market a game to gamers, the importance - and profit increase - the data gives them should really be reflected either in the price of the game or in some return to the players. While I'm aware a decrease in the price would mitigate some of that profit increase, I think more openness with their customers would help breed a closer relationship between a developer/producer and their target audience. This openness in turn breeds more customer loyalty - which is a huge source of income for MMOs.

    As an avid MMO player myself i don't honestly expect any gaming company will ever take a cut to their profit margin to say "thanks" to its players, but it's nice to dream, eh? I will say that I'm actually a little glad to see things on the list like "taste" and "opinion". The inclusion of these actually makes it seem like this data can give MMO developers a better idea of individual players so that they can tailor their games to be much more enjoyable.

    I'm sure unfortunately that those categories count far less than the standard ones like "age", "gender", and "income" though. I don't know if I prefer just being a string of numbers to these companies...or my individual self.

    Great article. I hope we get to see a follow-up on this with more in the future!

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