Biometrics in Gaming: Increase the Security of Payments Through Your Console

Biometrics are everywhere. In airports, in our smartphones, delivering advertising through facial recognition technology, and within our games consoles. No longer science fiction, biometrics are biometrics in gamingproving valuable for consumer security, improving user experiences and fraud prevention.

In 2014, The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in an article co-authored by Dr. Steven LeBoeuf, President of Valencell Inc., predicted that biometrics were about to revolutionise the gaming industry.

With companies like Valencell investing in biometrics, we can expect some of the ideas in the article turning into reality in the near future. However, those ideas “haven’t been realized just yet.”

Dr. LeBoeuf and the CTA called it a little too early. Some of the theory didn’t align with how players could potentially use this new technology. At the time, they thought biometric use would come from ‘add-on’ devices, which they later realised is not going to fuel adoption.

Neither is measuring the wrong thing, which is what early biometric devices were doing. Furthermore, in the articles payments were overlooked. From a gamer’s perspective, increased security would improve the user-experience following numerous high-profile security breaches.

How to Integrate Biometrics in Games

#1: Payment Security

Fingerprints are the most common form of biometric payment method available.

Consumers are swapping PIN numbers for Touch ID to unlock iPhone’s. It would not take much of a redesign to integrate the same technology into a games console. Not only would this dramatically increase security and reduce the risk of fraud, but also a player would not need to go through a complex payment portal to make an in-game purchase. Keeping them, mentally, in the game, thereby maintaining the quality of the user-experience.

#2: Game Design

Game designers, authors and movie directors have the same aims: they want to immerse an audience in the story. With biometrics, usability testing would make it easier for games developers to experience a game from a user’s perspective. Current methods ask testers to ‘think aloud’, which means breaking concentration and describing their experiences whilst playing.

Biometrics would more accurately show when players are reacting to the content of a game, showing fear, confusion, when they are in the zone (e.g. Jedi powers in a Star Wars game require players to relax into the role) and looking for items or clues. Sensors could collect a wide range of data, from heart rates to pupillary responses.

#3: Player Experience

As a consequence of this new data, the player experience could more closely match the aim of the creators. Making games even more realistic, immersive and entertaining, thereby increasing revenue for developers and studios.

Introducing biometrics as a payment option would also improve the player experience. In-game purchasing would be easier, no longer requiring card verification. All you would need is a fingerprint. This data could not be replicated or stolen either, making it safer than current payment methods.

These changes may not revolutionise the gaming industry overnight, but we should expect a transformation to start taking place over the next few years. Biometric payment gateways within mobile games, alongside biometrics within AR and VR devices, could be where we start seeing some of these changes during 2017.

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