k-ID Introduces a Revolutionary Tool for Game Developers to Ensure Compliance with Dynamic Child Safety Guidelines

Doing so while complying with the growing number of child safety laws and regulations around the world is an almost insurmountable task. Historically, game developers may have had to verify the child’s age or request ID to prove the player is not a kid. But with k-ID, they could instead customize the game experience to be legally appropriate for a player of that age in that particular market. Simply knowing this answer can help the game developer customize the experience for the child, teen or adult appropriately. k-ID’s solution entered into early access in November 2023 with a handful of game publishers across platforms in markets including the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea, and China.

Making Compliance Easier for Online Games with k-ID

Creating a successful video game is already a difficult endeavor. However, navigating the ever-growing web of child safety laws and regulations around the globe makes it an almost insurmountable task. Fortunately, a new technology company, k-ID, aims to simplify this process for game developers by offering a framework that protects them from non-compliance issues, such as regulatory sanctions and reputational risks.

k-ID was co-founded by CEO Kieran Donovan, an attorney with a background in advising tech and gaming companies on global compliance. His firsthand experience in guiding companies through the regulatory framework and cultural sensitivities served as the foundation for k-ID’s solution.

“You get asked the same question over and over…and then the lightbulb goes on and you think, ‘Wait a minute, there’s an opportunity for someone to actually build something for everyone to solve some of these challenges in the kids, teens and parents space,”‘ Donovan explains to TechCrunch.

This new solution was developed over the course of 18 months with the help of co-founders who have backgrounds in privacy law, online trust and safety, as well as tech and gaming. Along with Donovan, the executive team includes Chief Safety Officer Jeff Wu, a trust and safety veteran from Google and Meta; Chief Growth Officer Julian Corbett, who held executive positions at In-Fusio, Take-Two Interactive, Voodoo, and Tencent; Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Luc Delany, previously CEO of the International Social Games Association (ISGA) and Chair of the Mobile Games Intelligence Forum (MGIF); CTO Aakash Mandhar, previously of Microsoft, EA, Immutuable, and others; and soon-to-be Chief Legal Officer, Timothy Ma, previously head of international privacy and Data Protection Officer at Tencent.

Part of the challenge facing game developers is accurately determining if children are using their platform. Traditionally, age verification involves a simple pop-up where users enter their birth date to confirm they are over the age of 13. However, with the help of k-ID, developers can customize the game experience to comply with specific age restrictions based on market regulations in place.

“The systems aren’t designed to identify and manage younger or vulnerable users on these platforms,” Donovan points out. “For me, there’s an opportunity to take everything I was working on from a regulatory compliance perspective and deploy it in a way to solve real-world problems.”

To utilize k-ID, developers can access the solution through APIs or an SDK for mobile platforms. The service first identifies the legal definition of a child in each market where the game is available. This information allows developers to tailor the game experience to be appropriate for players of that particular market and age regulations. There are also considerations regarding parental consent and information-sharing when launching new features like chat, loot boxes, leaderboards, and public profiles.

“There are different compliance requirements and sensitivities for each country…it’s an infinite decision tree. That’s what we solve for publishers,” Donovan explains.

k-ID’s API-based system does not require access to the game’s code, as it can send signals to the game to configure itself for the age, location, and digital maturity of the child. For instance, if a parent gives permission for their child to play a more mature game, they can do so through an interface powered by k-ID.

The solution entered early access in November 2023 with a few game publishers across multiple platforms in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea, and China. Today, it is available to everyone. k-ID’s core offerings include APIs and SDKs to customize game experiences, access to a compliance-focused database for the gaming industry, and a “family portal” feature for parents. Pricing starts at a free tier and scales up based on the number of active players per game title.

The remote team is backed by a total of $5.4 million from pre-seed and seed funding rounds in 2022, with investors including a16z Games Speedrun, Konvoy Ventures, and TIRTA Ventures.

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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