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‘Zero Harm in Comms’: Ubisoft and Riot Games Crack Down on Toxic In-Game Chats

The days of in-game ‘yo mama’ jokes are numbered. Ubisoft and Riot Games have joined forces to put an end to toxic in-game chats, in an attempt to promote healthy in-game behaviour and put a stop to online toxicity in multiplayer video games. Over the years, multiplayer video games have given birth to some fantastic tight-knit communities where gamers can share, collaborate and speak their hearts and minds. However, multiplayer lobbies have also become a breeding ground for harmful and unwholesome behaviour that can devastate the experience for good. Now, to help combat this rising issue Riot Games and Ubisoft have come forward and are working side-by-side on a research project whose sole purpose is to create “more positive gaming communities.”

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Ubisoft x riot games

Image: Riot Games

The new project, dubbed “Zero Harm in Comms,” is being described as “the first step in a cross-industry project that aims to benefit all people who play video games”. Essentially, this Zero Harm in Comms project will help create a database to collect in-game data and use AI tools and natural language processing to deduce the meaning and context.

Both publishers will come up with a model that allows them to transmit, collect, and label data in a privacy-protecting way. No personally identifiable data will be stored by the companies. This anonymized data will be consisting of chat logs tagged by behaviours, from neutral to racist and sexist and will be used to “train AI-based preemptive moderation tools that detect and mitigate disruptive behaviour in-game.”

Zero Harm in Comms has been in the making for almost six months, with Ubisoft director of LaForge R&D Department Yves Jacquier and Riot Games head of tech research Wesley Kerr already working together on the project. The companies have now decided to share their understandings “from the first phase of this initiative with the entire industry next year.” In a newly released blog, Riot said, “With Ubisoft’s wide catalogue of popular games and Riot’s highly competitive titles the resulting database of this partnership should cover a wide range of players and use cases to better train AI systems to detect and mitigate harmful behaviour.”

Even though the project is still in its nascent stages and there’s a lot of ground to cover, the Zero Harm in Comms has the potential to reduce harmful in-game messages and help create a safe and engaging environment for all players involved.

“We really recognised that this is a bigger problem than one company can solve,” explained Wesley Kerr in a Ubisoft blog post. He further added, “so how do we come together and start getting a good handhold on the problem we’re trying to solve? How can we go after those problems, and then further push the entire industry forward?” Hopefully, this new project might present us with some solutions.

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Shubhendu Vatsa

Shubhendu Vatsa is an experienced reporter specialising in video game, eSports and technology coverage. A BTech IT graduate, Shubhendu has previously written for entertainment-based publications such as GiveMeSport, Touch, Tap, Play, Attack of the Fanboy, EssentiallySports, Twinfinite and The Load Out.