Player Protection: Ensuring Data Privacy In The World Of Online Gaming

Posted On - 26 June, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva


The rapid evolution of data processing technologies has significantly transformed the online gaming industry, enabling gaming companies to collect unprecedented amounts of user data, often exceeding the data collection capabilities of governments. Gaming companies frequently prompt users to disclose more personal information than necessary, offering enhanced communication experiences or access to digital services and products in return.

Importance of Data privacy:

In the context of the digital age, the safeguarding of data privacy has emerged as a paramount concern, necessitating stringent measures to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of personal and sensitive information. Data privacy, encompassing the prevention of unauthorized access, use, and disclosure of such information, serves as a cornerstone for the protection of individuals’ rights and freedoms. By prioritizing data privacy, companies not only comply with legal obligations but also cultivate a reputation for reliability and integrity, thereby fostering consumer trust and encouraging the voluntary sharing of information. This trust is critical, as the sensitive nature of the data collected, including financial records, and health information, underscores the potential risks associated with unauthorized access.

The ramifications of data breaches can be severe, encompassing identity theft, financial fraud, and even physical harm. Therefore, the maintenance of data privacy is integral to preventing these adverse outcomes. Moreover, data privacy fuels innovation by providing a secure environment wherein individuals feel confident in sharing their information. This dynamic underscores the broader implications of data privacy, extending beyond mere protection to encompass the influence on individual behaviour, targeted advertising, and decision-making processes affecting opportunities in employment, finance, and beyond. Consequently, the accumulation of personal data by corporations and governments necessitates rigorous oversight to mitigate the potential for abuse and to ensure that individuals retain agency over their personal information, thereby safeguarding their rights and freedoms in an increasingly data-driven world.

Data privacy & security in online games:

The rapid advancements in data processing technologies within the online gaming industry have led to significant progress, allowing gaming companies to collect vast amounts of user data, often surpassing the data collection capabilities of governments. This commercial data collection, characterized by techniques such as cookie-based profiling, location-based advertising, and behavioural targeting, has become a prominent privacy issue. Gaming companies frequently encourage users to provide more personal information than necessary, promising enhanced online communication experiences or access to digital services and products.

While much attention has been given to regulating online gaming with respect to digital asset protection, secure payment methods, and preventing impersonation, the issues related to personal data processing, the purposes of such processing, and the sharing of data by platforms require deeper scrutiny. The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 mandates that gaming platforms, developers, and users adhere to a structured framework governing the processing of personal data, including reviewing notices, obtaining consents, and exercising data processing rights. This legislative framework aims to balance the protection of personal data with the innovative potential of gaming platforms to offer new products and services, echoing principles of Privacy-by-Design and Privacy-by-Default.

A critical component of the DPDP Act is the requirement for data fiduciaries to obtain verifiable parental consent before processing personal data of children, defined as individuals under 18 years old. However, the Act does not define ‘verifiable consent,’ leading to significant ambiguity. This lack of clarity poses risks for data fiduciaries, who struggle to determine compliant methods for obtaining consent, and for data principals, who may unwittingly give unconditional consent without fully understanding its implications, thus compromising their privacy.

Additionally, the absence of a clear definition complicates the processes for withdrawing consent or accessing records of past choices, undermining individuals’ control over their personal information. For data fiduciaries, this ambiguity increases the risk of non-compliant data collection practices and potential regulatory actions. Therefore, a precise definition of ‘verifiable consent’ is crucial to ensure that both data fiduciaries and principals can navigate the consent process transparently and effectively, safeguarding privacy while allowing for continued innovation in the online gaming industry.

Responsibilities of a Gaming company:

The Digital Personal Data Protection Act strictly prohibits data fiduciaries from tracking or behaviourally monitoring personal data of children or minors, aiming to protect their privacy and well-being. This poses a challenge for platforms targeting young users, such as esports and online gaming platforms, which typically collect metadata like time spent, in-game currency usage, and playing session details to optimize marketing strategies. When such metadata can identify users, it falls under the Act’s strict regulations. This restriction hampers esports and gaming companies’ ability to engage with their primary audience, predominantly aged 13-18 in India. Moreover, the need for explicit parental consent complicates matters, as repeated consent requests can lead to ‘consent fatigue,’ where users become overwhelmed by constant prompts, ultimately decreasing the user base for free-to-play platforms.

To create a positive gaming environment, it is crucial for gaming companies to build trust with players by making their data processing procedures, privacy policies, and data sharing practices transparent. Clearly communicating these aspects will reassure players and boost their confidence in the platform. Allowing users to customize their privacy settings and manage their information availability can further enhance trust. Ethical data gathering and usage should be prioritized, involving explicit user consent and collecting only the necessary personal information for gaming services. Transparency about the purpose and extent of data collection is essential to comply with ethical and regulatory standards.

Regular audits and compliance checks can help maintain these standards and prevent unnecessary information collection. Regular penetration tests and vulnerability assessments can identify and address security gaps. Clear and understandable privacy policies and terms of service should be provided, and explicit consent should be obtained from users before collecting and using their personal information. Consulting certified privacy professionals can further enhance these practices, ensuring that gaming companies act responsibly.


In conclusion, while the regulation of online gaming has traditionally focused on issues like digital asset protection, secure payment methods, and prevention of impersonation, the complexities surrounding personal data processing, the purposes behind it, and the sharing of this data by platforms deserve greater attention. The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 brings these concerns to the forefront, requiring gaming platforms, developers, and users to adhere to a structured framework for personal data processing, emphasizing informed consent and transparency.

King Stubb & Kasiva,
Advocates & Attorneys

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