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The Reality of Supporting Virtual Communities

As next week’s annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) draws near, one portion we’re particularly looking forward to this year is VRDC, or the Virtual Reality Developers Conference, taking place Monday and Tuesday, February 27-28. We’re excited to not only attend the event, but sponsor it as well — be sure to visit us at booth TT08!

GDC is always an exciting event for us and one we attend each year. As passionate as we are about games, so are we about the technologies that fuel them, particularly virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These technologies change not only how consumers experience games, but also how they interact with other players, and moreover, how we ensure player safety in a virtual world. As they become a bigger mainstay of gaming technology, developers will have to ensure proper tools are in place to both monitor and take action on player activity in virtual worlds.

While the technology is still somewhat new, we’ve been considering their impact on community and player behavior for quite a while. At last year’s annual Austin Game Conference, our SVP of Global Operations Rich Weil joined some industry friends to lead two panels: one on Moderation in Virtual Reality, and the other on Building a Lasting Community Influencer Program (for VR and Beyond).

In those panels, Rich explained that larger, multiplayer VR games have the capacity to drive the same emotional attachment from players that early MMO games did. Of course, the nature of VR poses new avenues for in-game harassment and griefing, especially within games that compel such passionate fan bases. It’s quite likely we’ll see an uptick in game companies investing in in-game moderation and monitoring presences by community teams.

Some might shy away from challenges like these; at ModSquad, we see them as an opportunity to expand the services we provide. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. ModSquad has been fortunate to work with a truly forward-thinking client who’s leading the way in the field of augmented reality gaming. Our Mods were tasked with the momentous job of global brand and community protection and international customer support.

A lot of today’s AR experiences are hosted within mobile applications using a device’s built-in camera. That means endless possibilities for screenshots and video captures, which is an enormous moderation undertaking. Unsavory real-life imagery shared across social media overlaid with your app’s branding? Maybe not what you had in mind when you got excited about user-generated content. Having a team of moderators on tap to monitor what’s being shared is essential. In the future, we expect to also see developers setting limits on how/when/where screenshots can be captured within the app.

In addition to digital safety, VR and AR present the complication of physical, real-world safety. With the developments we’ve seen over just the past year, we look forward to seeing a renewed focus on tutorials that guide players through safe use and best practices.

It’s experiences and insights like these that make us eager to reconnect with peers and partners at VRDC this year, as well as meet new friends and learn about their exciting plans for the industry.

Will you be at VRDC? Come say hello! ModSquad will be at location TT08. We can’t wait to see you!

 

D5X_8984” by Official GDC is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
D5X_7338” by Official GDC is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
D5X_7934” by Official GDC is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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