Ubisoft has launched a new police alert system in a fight against toxic gaming.
The maker of major franchises including ‘Assassin’s’ Creed’ and ‘Rainbow Six’ has millions of users, most of whom play without spreading disturbing behaviour, but it has signed a first-of-its-kind deal with cops to try and wipe out the chance of players facing death threats, rape jokes, racism grooming and bullying while gaming online.
Damien Glorieux, a senior director of the Newcastle-based Ubisoft Customer Relationship Centre, told BBC News: “We want to be on the right side of history.
“We have millions of players, and tens of millions of interactions – so how can we spot incidents?
“It is daunting, but at the same time it is very important, which is why we wanted to sign this deal and try to make things right.
“We wanted to focus on the most extreme cases, make sure we do the right thing there because it gives us a solid foundation to build the rest of our work around.”
Ubisoft’s link with Northumbria Police works by specialist officers sharing knowledge on damaging online behaviour with a 200-strong team working at a centre in Newcastle – and in extreme cases such as death threats or grooming, staff can flag it to officers who will decide whether to take action.
Staff in Newcastle can also recommend the company start legal proceedings in some cases, though less than 0.01 per cent of the instances dealt with by the centre ends up requiring police action, but accounts can be temporarily banned or closed if players have breached a code of conduct.
Detective Chief Superintendent Deborah Alderson from Northumbria Police, who has been leading the work with Ubisoft, said policing “is about prioritising protecting the vulnerable”.
She added: “That means all of our communities not just the ones that we see in person, but our online communities as well.
“Policing changes continually, demands evolve and we have different challenges all the time - our job is to evolve with it.”
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