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Epic Games and SuperAwesome will make it easy for all game developers to implement free parental verification in their video games.
It may seem like a simple thing to do, but it gets more and more complicated in a world of regulations governing privacy and other protections for children in an age where everyone is online. This means that companies will allow developers to easily integrate a system into their games where parents can approve a child’s participation in an online space, such as the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds which are all interconnected, as in novels such as Snow accident and Loan Player One.
Dylan Collins, CEO of SuperAwesome, which is owned by Epic, said in an interview with GamesBeat that this effort will make it easier for game developers to comply with laws and regulations that make the internet safer for children.
“It also makes things a lot easier for parents. Because once a parent is verified, in one of the games that use our service, when they enter the next game that uses it, they don’t need to recheck again, ”said Collins. “If your child has played Fortnite and you initially checked out the parent, and they come to you and tell you that they want to activate the services in Among Us, which is also powered by Kids Web Services, you don’t don’t need to go through the same steps as a parent.
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He said the next metaverse will be a place where people of different ages meet, play games and take part in events like they do in the physical world, so it’s important for developers to have tools to ensure that they are able to offer content suited to the public. experiences that are
Complies with relevant privacy laws.
“All of these experiences all blend together as we move towards the Metaverse,” Collins said.
For hundreds of thousands of developers around the world, it remains prohibitive to do what is fair and consistent for young audiences, especially when it comes to verifying the identity of parents and guardians.
“It shouldn’t cost developers money to do the right thing for younger audiences,” Collins said. “Each developer has a different version of this. Each parent must go through the same verification steps and the same consent. “
Web services for children
SuperAwesome makes Kids Web Services (KWS) parental verification free to all developers around the world through Epic Online Services. KWS allows developers to verify the identity of parents or guardians when they allow their children to use features that collect personal information.
KWS is already powering parental verification for some of the biggest games in the world and Epic also recently implemented KWS parental verification in the Epic Games account creation process.
“The metaverse will be made up of many types of experiences and will not be controlled by any company,” Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, said in a statement. “It will require all of us who are building toward this future to create experiences that are not only interoperable, but also consider the safety of our audiences, regardless of their age. By making KWS Parent Verification free, we hope to empower more developers to create safer digital experiences, while also empowering parents to make the choices that are right for their families.
Making KWS Parent Verification free will also provide a better user experience for parents and gamers, Collins said. Once a parent is verified using KWS and is part of SuperAwesome’s verified parent / guardian network called “ParentGraph”, they never again need to provide their verification details for any other service using the. KWS technology.
It also minimizes the processing of personal data, as the parent or guardian only provides their verification details once and SuperAwesome only keeps the data necessary to activate the ParentGraph.
Businesses must comply with child safety laws such as COPPA in the US, the Children’s Code in the UK, and GDPR-K in Europe.
Collins said we are seeing tensions in the industry today. People have an allergic reaction when we talk about kids and tech, but kids are going online more often and earlier due to the pandemic. But the technology they use was not created for them. Many developers do not have the financial or technical means to fix it on their own.
“It was one of the first things we started to come together on after the acquisition closed,” Collins said. “We’ve joined the Epic family to expand our mission to make the internet safer for kids, but to a level we just wouldn’t be able to do on our own. We thought how if we could snap our fingers and make this huge problem go away or make it a lot easier. “
Roblox also recently launched age verification for users who want to prove that they are 13 years of age or older to be able to use Roblox’s new space audio service that enables voice chat. Every business should pay attention to laws like the European General Data Protection Regulation for Children, or GDPR-K, which limits the data that can be collected on children. In these cases, the approval of a child’s parents will occur and then the credentials will be removed after the approval is associated with a given email address or login.
There are complexities, of course. Some children may be orphans, or pretend to be orphans, and others may have divorced parents, one approving and the other not. Collins said he’s glad we’re even thinking about such questions, compared to five years ago when relatively few consumers cared.
“The whole game development community is starting to think more deeply about this subject than it ever has,” Collins said. “There are lots and lots of borderline cases and interesting permutations here. And we continue to develop this platform and solve more and more of it on a daily basis. “
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