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9 out of 10 mobile games ignore user privacy: Usercentrics
Tue, 25th Apr 2023

A new study by Usercentrics, a provider of consent management platforms (CMP), reveals that 90% of mobile games fail to comply with privacy regulations, leaving millions of gamers without any control over how their personal data is used.

“Despite the threat of large fines for non-compliance and consumers’ increasing desire to have control of their personal data, it's clear from the study that most mobile game developers are still putting profit over privacy," says Valerio Sudrio, global director of apps solutions at Usercentrics.

“The app stores, ad networks and premium brand advertisers are pushing the industry towards an inevitable consent-based future, and developers and publishers need to realize that compliant data (personal data plus consent) will be their most valuable asset going into that future.”

The study examined a significant sample of 269 top iOS and Android games, specifically those with at least 150,000 daily active users. The data was collected using the auditing tool Apptopia. The results showed that a vast majority of mobile games in EMEA (~94%) and in North America (~86%) collect personal data without obtaining user consent. This finding indicates a violation of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ePrivacy Directive.

The study's results demonstrate that mobile game developers are not aligned with the broader trend in the mobile industry towards a consent-based approach to data collection.

For instance, Apple introduced its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) system last year, which enables users to have more control over their data and privacy. Similarly, Google is currently developing its own system. Furthermore, obtaining user consent is crucial for revenue generation, as 40% of players reported they would uninstall a game if they had concerns regarding their data privacy.

One reason why the majority of mobile game publishers and developers haven't implemented consent smartly may be the concerns that it will negatively affect their games' revenue. However, with premium brands and ad networks increasingly insisting on using only compliant data, game developers must embrace consent to future-proof monetization strategies for in-app advertising (IAA).

“When you look at the numbers, it becomes clear that consent is a great opportunity hidden in plain sight. Increasingly, premium brands and ad networks insist on using only compliant data, effectively pushing the industry towards consent-based marketing. User-friendly consent management also builds trust and long-term engagement with gamers. To future-proof your data and monetization strategies, integrating smart consent is the key,” adds Sudrio.

“Usercentrics can help automate compliance for mobile game companies. We believe in creating a healthy balance between data privacy and data-driven business, delivering solutions for every size of enterprise. Cookiebot CMP is our plug-and-play SaaS, our App CMP handles user consent on mobile apps, and Usercentrics CMP serves companies with enterprise-grade custom requirements.”