The British Esports Association, the not-for-profit organisation set up to promote and support grassroots esports, has revealed first details of its new membership platform.
The platform, scheduled to launch in spring 2021 initially for 12-19 year olds (with plans to expand to other age groups later on), will ensure users are verified at point of entry and that communication within the platform is reviewed to reduce toxicity and cyber threats.
The collaboration with IBM will explore how IBM Watson products can be used to enhance user experience, safety and wellbeing of young gamers.
The Association has also teamed up with safety technology provider GoBubble for real-time content moderation and will deliver accurate age verification using privacy preserving AI technology from Yoti to ensure age appropriate interactions.
Alongside the work of these partners, British Esports consulted with the NSPCC to ensure there are strong and consistent safeguarding procedures in the association.
Finally, British Esports, GoBubble and Yoti have been invited to test the platform within the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) Sandbox. This is a service developed by the ICO to support organisations who are creating products and services which utilise personal data in innovative and safe ways.
IBM is a global leader in hybrid cloud and AI. The intention is to use IBM Watson Assistant to engage gamers via a virtual assistant in the form of a gaming avatar. The assistant will also utilise IBM Watson Discovery to provide personalised content to enable the gamer to improve their skills, compete in tournaments and find the latest video from their favourite influencer.
The project partners will also explore how Red Hat OpenShift can enable the platform to scale to a global market and even potentially beyond the world of esports. The intention is to containerise the platform, enabling it to be deployed directly onto the cloud infrastructures of other esports bodies and potentially to any organisation that runs a digital community.
Yoti is the world’s leading identity platform with accurate age estimation technology providing a secure way of proving ages, without revealing any personal information. There’s no need for ID documents and images are deleted after the age check. The free Yoti app also enables people to prove their age with one tap, which is verified with a government ID and their unique facial biometrics. Yoti’s combination of AI technology, liveness anti-spoofing and ID document checks ensures businesses can be confident in the age of their customers.
GoBubble’s child-centred ecosystem helps developers safely scale and reduce the risk of children being exposed to anything inappropriate. GoBubbleWrap, GoBubble’s content moderation SaaS API, will be utilised to provide real-time text moderation across the platform to reduce toxicity and steer gamers towards more positive behaviour.
This creates an attractive proposition for parents and teachers looking for a safer space for their children and student gamers to play together.
Chester King, British Esports Association CEO and founder, commented: “Over the past few years we’ve worked hard to build a community of esports fans from schools and colleges across the UK.
“What’s been clear through feedback from parents and teachers is the need to ensure that young people know who they are playing and communicating with, and that where communication takes place, we must work hard to reduce toxicity in all its forms.
“When addressing these concerns, we also must keep in mind the experience for young people, so whilst we have a focus in a safer space, we want to ensure that the experience is relevant and exciting. This will be done through curated relevant content, exclusive offers, discounts and competitions and exciting esports tournaments taking place throughout the year.”
Kay Thompson, Media & Entertainment Industry lead at IBM, said “IBM is hugely excited to be working with the British Esports Association and its partners on this tech for good initiative to protect our children whilst gaming”.
Christian McMullen, Head of Professional Engagement at the NSPCC, said: “We have a mission to ensure every child is safe online and were delighted to be approached by the BEA with an exciting proposal to make the world of esports safer for children.
“The NSPCC worked with the BEA to strengthen their safeguarding procedures as well as develop a code of conduct and content for their safe gaming guidance for children and parents.
“By integrating safety by design into their new platform, the British Esports Association is demonstrating their intention to create a safer space for the gaming community that has the potential to improve young people’s safety in the world of esports.”
Julie Dawson, Director of Regulatory and Policy at Yoti, said: “Through the ICO Sandbox, Yoti, GoBubble and British Esports will develop privacy-preserving and ‘ethics by design’ systems that support under 13s age verification and associated parental consent. This same approach can support many other companies to comply in a friction-free way with the Age Appropriate Design Code and protect children.”
Henry Platten, GoBubble CEO and founder, added: “The dedication British Esports has to unite everyone in a single, safer, healthier and kinder community is inspiring. We’re honoured to help bring our experience and technology in creating safer, scalable and positive communities in 70 countries to benefit British Esports’ vision.”
Further launch information, pricing and other details are to be confirmed nearer the platform’s launch.
About the British Esports Association
The British Esports Association is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2016 to support and promote esports in the UK.
As a national body, its aims are to foster future British talent, increase the awareness of esports and provide expertise and advice. It’s focused on the grassroots level of esports and is not a governing body.
The Association helps educate the masses – including parents, teachers, media and government – around what esports is and what its benefits are. Its three goals are to promote, improve and inspire.
IBM is the global leader in hybrid cloud and AI, serving clients in more than 170 countries. More than 2,800 clients use our hybrid cloud platform to accelerate their digital transformation journeys and, in total, more than 30,000 of them have turned to IBM to unlock value from their data — this client list includes nine out of ten of the world’s largest banks. With this foundation, we continue to leverage Red Hat OpenShift as the leading platform to address our clients’ business needs: A hybrid cloud platform that is open, flexible and secure. Guided by principles of trust, transparency and support for a more inclusive society, IBM also is committed to being a responsible steward of technology and a force for good in the world. For more information, visit:
GoBubble is on a mission to make the internet safer for all kids. Using a combination of real-time content moderation powered by machine learning, advanced security checks, and biometric age verification, GoBubble’s child-centred ecosystem helps developers safely scale and reduce the risk of children being exposed to anything inappropriate.
GoBubbleWrap, GoBubble’s B2B SaaS moderation API, enables developers to check content before it appears. Internationally recognised and easy to rollout, with machine learning trained from unique and authentic child generated content from its community of 3500 registered schools from 70 countries.
The team behind GoBubble are parents, teachers and technology experts, and all led by a former police sergeant, Henry Platten, who is the award winning “Safeguarding Champion of the Year”. The team has won many of the top industry awards for innovation and making the internet a safer place.
The NSPCC is the UK’s leading children’s charity, preventing abuse and helping those affected to recover.
It has been looking out for children for over 130 years.
Yoti is a digital identity-checking platform that allows organisations to verify who people are, online and in person. Yoti’s products span identity verification, age verification, document e-signing, access management and biometric authentication.
Yoti is already used by the NHS in England, the Improvement Service in Scotland and the Government of Jersey, where Yoti’s digital ID platform leverages the highest data security standards to verify its users. Yoti accepts government-approved identity documents from over 200 countries that are verified using leading technology and trained security personnel.
About the Information Commissioner’s Office
The ICO is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.