Sony and Crisp Thinking Make Free Realms More Kid Friendly

Posted by at 11:36 am on September 30, 2009

Crisp Thinking has announced that Sony Online Entertainment, taking a major step to help secure the online safety of children in its hit game Free Realms, has installed Crisp Thinking’s online threat protection software, NetModerator. The product identifies and blocks predators and other threats in online games in real time as well as providing an unprecedented level of analysis of veiled online communications which might be a well-disguised wrong-doer or an escalating situation of bullying.

“We take our responsibility to ensure child safety in our products very seriously and that makes it a priority in Free Realms especially. We feel strongly that it’s up to us to implement protections for children while they’re playing our games,” said John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment. “After installation and weeks of testing, we found Crisp NetModerator is a high-quality product that works well. It goes far beyond anything else we’ve seen. We are looking to implement it into other SOE games in the future.”

Designed for the next generation of family-orientated Massively Multiplayer Online (MMOs) games and virtual words, NetModerator analyzes the intent of dialogue between players as well as the actual words they are using. The software therefore can identify potentially escalating situations such as potential self-harm or cyberbullying as well as immediately calling attention to predators. In tests undertaken by Cambridge University in the UK in 2007, NetModerator proved 98.4 percent accurate.

Crisp Thinking’s system blocks potential threats in real time, quickly finding behavioural situations of immediate concern, and also offers ongoing, in-depth analysis of communications between players in an online game or virtual world so that perpetrators that are hiding their intent as well as situations that started out innocently, but are escalating, are identified to be further monitored. It even takes over some of the moderation tasks, freeing technical staff for other work.

NetModerator claims it is the only system available that can monitor and store all communications, analyze ongoing conversations between individuals over time, decode content and give developers and publishers a better understanding of the true meaning of the communication between users.

“NetModerator sets a new standard for moderating communications in online games, websites, social networking sites, instant messaging services and forums,” said Andrew Lintell, CEO of Crisp. “Our solution goes way beyond black lists of -˜bad’ or inappropriate words and filtering solutions. We analyze context as well as content so we catch coded and invented words and slang, for instance. Our software raises the bar, substantially improving the safety of game play.”

Child and family-friendly MMOs and dynamic, fun and engaging virtual worlds such as Free Realms are proving to be popular with consumers. At the same time, parents want assurance that companies offering these online playgrounds are including safety measures to protect users.

Crisp clients include Cartoon Network/FusionFall, ZulaWorld and SuperSecret, along with Internet service providers, Sky and Tiscali. Full details of all Crisp Thinking solutions can be found at www.crispthinking.com.

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