April Merchant Spotlight: Jagex


March 23, 2016

Dave Parrott, Payment Services Director Jagex

What consumer benefits do you offer that set you apart from your competitors?

Jagex creates intriguing, social, exploratory adventures set in a fantastical online world for its players to experience and take part in. Its world-famous online game is RuneScape, a massively multiplayer role playing game that in 2016 celebrates its 15th anniversary; the game has welcomed over 245 million players in its 15-year history.

With a long-standing reputation for creating the world's best online games -- hugely popular, accessible and free-to-play -- Jagex maintains its worldwide player community whilst attracting diverse new audiences and creating technology to support the players.

Jagex constantly strives to be the most player-driven company in the world. Throughout its history Jagex has nurtured a hugely loyal, passionate and committed global community of gamers. Player feedback has always been a vital part of the development cycle for Jagex games, which have been constantly updated and built upon based on player interaction, sentiment and feedback.

What processes do you have in place that protect against fraud, account takeovers, chargebacks, etc.?

At the point of sale we make a series of checks to reduce the risk of fraud from our previously identified fraudsters preventing known bad transactions going through our systems and increasing our processing costs. Our PSP does pre-auth checks for basic risks like CVV, blacklists and velocity limits, and then our main third party fraud solution does a post-auth check using a large dataset provided by Jagex as well as its own network linking tools. We manage all the rules and operations of these systems as we know our customers better than anyone, understand our appetite for risk and how it affects the overall business.

We analyze the performance of all our tools daily and make any changes to block new risks and assure our customers are not being blocked incorrectly. We use manual review of our rule sets, refunds of things we've missed, TC40 file data and analytics of how our service is used to highlight any new trends or accuracy issues.

Account takeover is a constant challenge in the video games industry not only for payment fraud, but because gaming accounts have an inherent worth due to the investment of time in playing them. We support our customers by offering two factor authenticators for their accounts, and we use an internal machine learning solution to identify and highlight suspicious login behavior so we can better protect our players.

Chargeback risk is managed in the first instance by our fraud protection systems mentioned above. We also use a third party solution for early warnings of payments that are being disputed, and those chargebacks that we believe are incorrect we dispute through the normal channels. To make sure our staffing resources are being used appropriately we try and automate as much of this process as possible.

What is the most common type of attempted online fraud you see at Jagex?

The majority of our fraud risk comes from "Gold Farmers." This is a well-known term in the video gaming industry, but for those who are not aware of gold farming, it is when people use automated bots to play the game and generate virtual in-game wealth which is then sold online for real money.

This creates a fraud risk because these gold farmers can earn this in game wealth faster by subscribing to the game and by using stolen payment credentials to purchase gold directly from Jagex.

We have invested heavily over the years in tackling the gold farming risk to our game because it not only creates fraud, but it also damages the experience for our normal players. Through a lot of effort we have been able to significantly reduce the risk that gold farming and make the game better for all.

How do you benefit from MRC membership? What MRC resources do you rely on?

The benefit of the MRC has developed over the years as our own experience has grown. When we first joined the MRC its members provided reassurance that we were approaching our problems in a logical way as our fraud experience was very limited. They also provided contacts to solution providers and helped us ask the right questions to get the most out of them.

In more recent years as our experience has grown and we have started contributing to the knowledge base of the MRC, we continue to get valuable insight and ideas on where the industry is going and how we can develop our anti-fraud tactics yet further.

The MRC's expansion to look more and more at payments as well as fraud has also helped us identify new partners and techniques to increase our payment conversion and monetize our users effectively. We feel more prepared for the changing future of eCommerce because of the interaction we have with the MRC and its members.

Operating in eCommerce gaming/retail, what are your strengths?

One thing we pride ourselves on is our access and use of data which permeates across the whole business. The Payments and Fraud team all have access to our data warehouse and are trained in SQL to access the data they need, when they need it. We have removed any reliance on external teams like BI so we can innovate and respond quicker.

As we are providing an online service which our players login to, we are able to monitor their activity and use that data to improve the product and their experience as well as highlight fraudulent behavior to feed back into our fraud models. We can also identify customer behavior and appropriate payment options and techniques which enables our users to engage with the game quicker and more easily.

According to your website, you've received over 20 awards for various company accomplishments. What organizational values, goals and principles do you embody that you believe makes Jagex so successful?

Jagex's values embrace integrity, passion, smart working, results-driven approaches and agile methods. Our people have the courage to say what they think even if it is controversial, they take pride in their work, their colleagues and the success they can bring to the Company. They are smart, keen, learn rapidly, and eagerly create new ideas to the benefit of the organization. Their work is meaningful and makes a real difference and they value great results above effort or process. They are agile in challenging old assumptions and suggest better approaches and, most visibly, is the sense of camaraderie throughout the organization.