Lots of drama with developer Machine Zone recently, and this last one is an interesting one. Machine Zone is the developer of Game of War: Fire Age (Free), currently the Top Grossing Game on the App Store. So, the company isn’t poor. According to a story in The Verge, a Machine Zone employee was intercepted by FBI agents as he was boarding a plane to Beijing for allegedly stealing trade secrets from the company. Apparently, the employee was unhappy with his position in Machine Zone and decided to download data to use as a bargaining chip in an attempt to get more money. What makes the story interesting is the type of data this employee stole, data that was so important that FBI got involved; it wasn’t anything to do with the game’s code or the company’s structure, but, rather, information about player behavior, including how users spend money in the game. The breach didn’t include any credit card information or the like, simply information about players’ in-game habits and behavior.
It’s quite interesting how valuable your habits have become to large F2P companies like Machine Zone and how an employee felt the information was so valuable to the company that he could use it to pretty much blackmail Machine Zone to get what he wanted. We live in interesting times when one of the most important secrets a gaming company can have is what players do in-game. Feeling important, now? This Machine Zone drama comes on the heels of another one earlier this week when the news came out that Machine Zone is suing Kabam (publisher of games such as Marvel Contest of Champions) for leaking corporate information including how Machine Zone paid Kate Upton only 1 million dollars to use her likeness in the Game of War ads. If you want to read up on that whole drama, go here.