Epic Games launches kids accounts, wants 'safe and inclusive' metaverse – WRAL TechWire

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Sample of Fortnite “skins.” Epic Games image.
by WRAL TechWire — December 8, 2022
CARY – Epic Games is striving to make online play safe for younger players across the developing metaverse to current global hit Fortnite and others with what it calls “Cabined Accounts.”
Epic, whose metaverse development partners include Lego with an aim being a safe virtual world, says it wants to create “a rich experience within the same overall game or product is the best way to empower younger players to meaningfully participate without compromising on safety or privacy.”
The multi-billion-dollar games and technology developer points out challenges for parents and younger players, ranging from “false reporting of age” in-game purchases.
Epic brings tech capabilities to its account verification efforts. It acquired SuperAwesome, an online privacy and safety platform, in 2020. “It offers SuperAwesome’s parental controls to all developers, and cabined accounts work through its verification system,” VentureBeat notes. 
The new accounts were launched on Epic’s Fortnite, Rocket League, and Fall Guys products as of Wednesday.
LEGO teams up with Cary’s Epic Games to help build a kid-safe virtual world

“As we work toward the future open metaverse, companies building social experiences need to think about how to meet the challenges and raised expectations that come when kids participate in an online ecosystem,” Epic explained in the announcement.
“Some companies approach this challenge by creating isolated experiences solely for their younger players, but these experiences are usually restrictive and unappealing when compared to the full game or activity and may encourage false reporting of age. Another approach has been to offer a fulsome experience for younger players, but if kids do not obtain permission from their parents, they are locked out entirely with no alternatives. Neither of these are optimal.”
Here’s how the new accounts work as explained by Epic:
All players globally will be asked to provide their date of birth at log in. If someone indicates they are under 13 or their country’s age of digital consent, whichever is higher, their account will be a Cabined Account and they will be asked to provide a parent or guardian’s email address to begin the parental consent process. While waiting for consent, players will still be able to play Fortnite, Rocket League, or Fall Guys with full access to previously purchased or earned content in-game, but in a tailored Cabined Account environment where certain features, such as chat and purchasing, are disabled.
The player’s parent or guardian will receive an email letting them know about their child’s Epic account. Following links in the email, parents can review information about Epic’s privacy practices, provide consent for additional features, set up Parental Controls, and will be asked to verify they are an adult via SuperAwesome’s Kids Web Services.
Once the player receives parental consent, they will no longer have a Cabined Account and their experience will respect their parent or guardian’s preferred Parental Control settings.
You can learn more about the new accounts at Epic Games Cabined Accounts.
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