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#GameofWar Executive Caught #Stealing #User #Data

Daily Mail
If you were watching the Super Bowl, or have any vested interest in Kate Upton (no judgement), you'll probably be at least marginally aware of the freemium app game Game of War: Fire Age. It gained much wider acclaim after a series of ads which featured Upton, but not a great deal of clothing (she reportedly got paid $1 million for her involvement). More recent ads have featured Mariah Carey instead.

The game has courted controversy before, both for being eerily similar to 2012's Clash of Clans (which Facebook refuses to stop recommending to me) and the aggressive way it tries to squeeze money out of players through microtransactions (that's Latin for 'evil'). One player told Cracked.com that he had spent $9,000 on the game in the space of a single year. Obviously that's not entirely the game's fault, the guy clearly hates his money and wanted to find an efficient way to get rid of it.

So with some nefariousness already surrounding the game, it might not come as that big of a surprise that one of the top level execs has turned out to be as crooked as scoliosis. Jing Zeng, director of global infrastructure for Machine Zone, was intercepted by the FBI last week as he tried to board a plane to Beijing, having illicitly downloaded a substantial amount of user data. Said data contained detailed information about where a lot of the players' money was going.

Supposedly he had been unhappy about his position within the company and had tried to change his contract, only to be met with an outright denial. Reports suggest that he'd been planning on using the data as leverage to get a better severance package. It's hard to say just how damaging the information would have been to Machine Zone if Zeng had been able to share it, but in the federal complaint they claimed that it could "provide valuable insight and a huge competitive advantage over other online game providers and competitors."

It certainly seems like there's probably more to this than what's being covered, and it certainly doesn't do the already grimy world of freemium gaming any favours. The fact that someone in such a senior position at Machine World would be minded to do such a thing, either because they were pushed to their limit or it was just in their nature, doesn't look great. If found guilty, Zeng could end up getting a 10 year sentence.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#GameofWar Executive Caught #Stealing #User #Data Reviewed by Callum Davies on Monday, August 31, 2015 Rating: 5
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