ESRB, which is widely used in evaluating games on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, is also frequently used in AAA PC games. Therefore, real-time recognition technology must either be extremely forward-looking or make highly creative use of existing hardware. Fortunately, the FTC is currently evaluating the ESRB’s proposal, and the details of the document may be of concern to some.
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board, ESRB for short, is considering using real-time facial recognition technology to give players access to adult games. The ESRB’s proposal has been submitted to the Federal Trade Commission for approval, and the document includes a very detailed explanation of how the technology will be implemented.
If the offer is implemented, minor players will not be able to play any games that are considered “Mature” by the ESRB, and those games that have not passed the face recognition check will not be able to access them. The document also claims that facial recognition photos captured by the system will be uploaded to Yoti’s servers, but that the files will be deleted “immediately and permanently” and will not be used to train Yoti’s algorithm.
GamesIndustry.biz noted that the ESRB has submitted a proposal to the Federal Trade Commission, in which it collaborated with Epic Games’ subsidiary SuperAwesome and Yoti, a firm specializing in digital identity solutions. The proposal mentions the possibility of using facial recognition technology to prevent minors from accessing adult media. The promoted technology states that Yoti and SuperAwesome’s Privacy-Protective Facial Age Estimator technology can accurately detect a person’s age so that the ESRB’s assessments cannot be seriously ignored or bypassed.
ESRB reviews have historically been used as compelling information that reveals some aspects of games like Starfield before release. But the review board seems to have more of an opinion that its future purpose should be in a much more practical way. It will become clear over time whether the FTC will accept this proposal.
If the ESRB’s proposal is accepted, the best “Teen” rated RPG games will become readily available to any player Yoti considers young or old. This may look good on paper, but there are a lot of issues to worry about here. It is unclear how sensitive Yoti’s proprietary facial recognition technology is and how to ensure that captured image information is not used for malicious purposes. Fortunately, the ESRB claims that any potential risks “easily balance it with the benefits to consumers and businesses.”