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Konvoy Ventures is a thesis driven venture capital firm focused on the video gaming industry. We invest in infrastructure technology, tools, and platforms.

Should Cheating be Legal?

Mobile gaming market update and the growing problem with cheating

Mobile Gaming: 2020 report

App Annie is a global leader in mobile app statistics and analytics. They just released their 2020 mobile report, most of which is focused on mobile gaming given that mobile gaming is responsible for >70% of all revenue on both iOS and Android. After reading the report, below is what I found most interesting:

> 97% of publishers that monetize through the iOS App Store earned <$1 million per year and would benefit from Apple's App Store small business program — reducing fees from 30% to 15%. This announcement came after Fortnite challenged Apple to lower their fees across the board.

> The intersection of social and gaming showed up heavily for Gen Z with Twitch, Discord and Roblox ranking highly for affinity. This is important to note because it further solidifies the thesis that video gaming is a key tenant of not only entertainment but also how people are being social.

> App store spend in games = $100B (+20% y/y)

> Daily time spent per user on mobile = 4.2 hours (+20% y/y) - there’s a direct correlation between time spent and monetization in mobile games (both +20% y/y)

> Fullscreen and rewarded ads contributed 80% of gaming revenue (banner for the remaining 20%).

Cheating operation worth $76M

In video gaming, one of the biggest issues is cheating. This week, a collaboration between Tencent and the Chinese police resulted in the closure of what police say is the biggest ever video game cheating operation (BBC).

The group generated an estimated $76M in revenue through subscription fees to their clients. They were selling these cheat subscriptions for between $10-200 per month for games like Overwatch and CoD Mobile. The police seized assets worth ~$46M, which included the luxury cars you see above.

I have two reflections on this:

1) This group was making an incredible amount of money on a gaming-adjacent service in the video gaming space. Users are continuing to show that they will pay substantial amounts in subscription fees for services offered outside of games in order to augment their experience in-game.

2) Is cheating illegal? While I would say that it is, many people would disagree and say that it’s not unlike any other outside service that directs affects the games you play and your advantage over other players (overlays, analytics, better hardware, internet speed connections, etc). However, when you buy a game, you're buying a license to use the software in accordance with the terms of service that you agreed to. Part of the terms of service is that you can not reverse engineer the software (typically what a lot of cheats do). Therefore, it’s an infringement on that IP owner’s business and is illegal.