Playing games online is a very popular hobby for dozens of people all over the world. Whether you’re playing alone online or playing with friends and strangers, there’s plenty of entertainment on offer, but it’s important to stay safe while playing, and you can find out how to do so right here.

Online Gaming’s Boom

When gaming first emerged, most games required players to play alone, but as the gaming industry developed, this eventually expanded to allow local co-op in which up to four people could play a game on a split-screen with individual controllers. As technology continued to develop, this expanded into online gaming, where users could either play multiplayer titles with friends and strangers over the internet or play alone with multiplayer components, such as the Souls series’ multiplayer mechanic in which players can summon other players for help and leave messages to guide or trick others.

However, there are other types of online games available, such as online gambling, in which you play real-money casino games over the internet rather than visiting a brick-and-mortar venue, and freemium mobile games like Candy Crush and others. 

All of these games have become hugely popular over the last few years, with more companies and game publishers attempting to break into the online gaming industry. These games have become so popular that we’ve even seen some of them develop into large-scale competitions like eSports, in which players or teams compete against each other for a prize.

However, playing online has its risks, and you can figure out how to stay safe while playing by consulting our guide right here.

PC And Console Multiplayer Games

Generally speaking, it’s fairly safe to play online on PC and home consoles, but there are still some risks associated with them. For example, some multiplayer games, regardless of whether you’re playing with friends or alone online, can be hacked in which hackers – occasionally known as Griefers – will modify the game in order to cheat and win or give themselves additional items or skins. 

These hacks are often used in first-person shooter games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Call Of Duty, and they can also provide the hacker with additional abilities, giving them an advantage over other players. Soft hacks like these can also be bought online, although it’s against the game’s terms and conditions and could lead to hackers losing all game progress and getting their accounts locked.

Other hackers may instead use them maliciously. For example, an exploit found in Dark Souls 3 earlier this year allows hackers to take control of your computer and steal sensitive information. Serious hacks like this could prove to be incredibly dangerous and put you at risk.

Unfortunately, when it comes to hacking, there isn’t much you can do. In the case of playing games single-player with multiplayer elements, you can play offline to avoid hacking. When it comes to playing other titles that are solely multiplayer, it may be a good idea to check if you can create your own servers or use password matching to play only with people you can trust. 

What’s more, if you ever catch someone hacking, even if it’s a soft hack, you should immediately report it to the game’s developers to ensure fairness and safety. 

Gambling Online

Online gambling has become a fun pastime for many people, particularly since it offers users a chance to win real money if lucky enough, all without having to visit a brick-and-mortar casino. Now, many people believe that playing at an online casino and its sister sites is risky as you’re required to share personal information and deposit real money, but online casinos are generally safe if you stick to those that are licensed by the regulator of your jurisdiction.

For example, if you’re based in the United Kingdom, you should check that the online casino you want to play at is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, which ensures that all games are fair and safe to play, that online casinos advertise their promotions with up-to-date terms and conditions, and that all of your personal and financial information is kept safe. 

If you’re worried about the risks of gambling addiction, most online casinos, including those licensed for the UK, have a variety of tools and services you can employ to keep you safe. Most sites have deposit, time, and loss limits, and a majority take part in GAMSTOP’s self-exclusion service, allowing you to exclude yourself from all gambling sites at any time. 

Mobile Games And The Freemium Model

Mobile gaming is widely regarded as one of the most profitable within the industry, and most of that is due to the freemium games model that is filled with microtransactions. You’re likely familiar with these games as they’re usually filled with advertisements and come with in-game currency you can use to purchase add-ons or speed up waiting time between turns. 

While these games are incredibly safe, it can be easy for you or someone else, like a child, to accidentally purchase something within the game. To avoid this, we suggest you remove any linked payment method from the game account or smartphone (Handy if it’s your child’s). Alternatively, iOS and Android smartphones allow you to switch off in-app purchases or simply gate them behind passcodes, making it much harder to rack up a big bill. 

Why Is Gaming Online So Fun?

Online gaming is an incredibly fun pastime for many people. It’s a great way of passing the time and, similarly to consuming other forms of entertainment, can transport you to another world or provide you with a gripping story to engross yourself in. Alongside all of that, many people view playing online as a social experience and a fun way to meet new people and even make friends.

However, we have to reiterate how important it is to remain safe while playing online. Follow the tips we’ve shared above, and do everything in your power to stay safe, as that’s the best way to have fun.