New Report Claims ‘Always On’ Games Lead to More PC Viruses


The always on Internet debate in regards to PC gaming and DRM is a hot topic right now, which is mainly due to Sim City’s horrendous launch week issues that gamers experienced.  A new report from ESET suggests that there’s another major issue involved in always on games that goes beyond the inability to play them due to server issues.  This group claims that many gamers have been infected with viruses when they try to play these games online, because they disable their antivirus protection to avoid any lag in gameplay.

When you think about it ESET’s claim makes perfect sense.  PC gaming is all about performance and squeezing ever bit of juice out of your rig, so if you can save some processing power by disabling A/V services, then why not do so?  Unfortunately, this practice leaves the PC vulnerable to viruses, and considering that the machine has to be plugged into the Internet just to play a game, there’s a great chance for infection.

The always on issue will continue to be a hot topic in the gaming industry, so it’ll be interesting to see if publishers and developers begin to rethink the practice in the future.  Launch week server issues are bad enough, but the notion of having your rig compromised by a virus is even worse.  I don’t have the answer, but something needs to be done to protect PC gamers from crappy gameplay experiences, as well as virus attacks.  You can read the full press release on the topic after the break.  You’ve been glad that consoles haven’t fully adopted this practice yet…

“Always on” games such as SimCity, Diablo III and World of Warcraft blamed for increase in gamer viruses

A quarter of gamers have been infected with viruses after turning their security off to play games online, study shows

London, UK, Tuesday 19th March: Many gamers are putting themselves at risk of viruses and identity theft when playing online, a new study has revealed.

Despite just under half of the gamers polled claiming to be internet security-savvy, over 40 per cent claim that they wouldn’t be able to identify any of the viruses typically created to target them and a quarter never make the effort to find out.

With more and more PC Gamers connected to the online gaming world out of sheer necessity, protection against viruses and malware is more vital than ever. Yet the irritation from lag and mid-game pop-ups caused by most antivirus suites is so prolific that 31 per cent of gamers admit they disable security on their PC before playing games online.

This comes at a cost however; the average gamer loses two days of gaming time fixing a computer that has been inflicted with a virus caught while unprotected online, with one in twenty losing a week or more.

“It’s evident that gamers are not protecting themselves sufficiently and are unaware of the risk of playing online without protection – and as more and more titles require a constant Internet connection, that’s a real worry,” said Quinton Watts, VP of Marketing and Sales, ESET. “We’re in an age where cyber attacks can be detrimental to a person’s identity security and gamers, savvy as they may be, put themselves at risk far more than they need to.”

The research clearly points to a positive solution that will benefit all gamers; an antivirus package that will take care of problems quietly and efficiently, without pop-ups and the use of so much processing power that gaming is impeded by lag. Consequently, ESET will be installing all PCs that are taking part in the ESET UK Masters grand finals at Insomnia48 this weekend with the newly released NOD32 Antivirus 6 – the latest update of the critically acclaimed security software designed to operate at maximum capacity without causing any interruptions to gaming sessions and general usability.

The StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm tournament has attracted some of the most talented competitive gamers from around the world, who will be taking part in the £10,000 grand finals at the Telford International Centre from 22nd – 24th March.

The survey of 1,000 PC Gamers in the UK was commissioned by ESET and conducted by 72Point, for the Grand Finals of the ESET UK Masters StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm tournament.


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Tags : Online GamingPC GamersVirus
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.