On February 16, 2023, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) released guidance for the video game industry on how to conform with the UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code when developing video games. This blog post summarizes the ICO’s recommendations for video game developers and designers when creating video games that are likely to be accessed by children under the age of 18. For more information about the UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code, see our previous blog posts here and here.
The main takeaways of the guidance are as follows:
- Risk assessment. Game developers and designers should conduct a risk assessment before offering their games on the market to make sure data privacy considerations are taken into account, and children’s privacy is protected;
- Age verification. Game developers and designers should identify with a reasonable degree of certainty whether players are under the age of 18;
- No detriment on health and well-being. Game developers and designers should ensure that their games are not detrimental to players’ health and well-being (e.g., by automatically saving progress in a game, and creating natural breaks in gameplay) and be transparent about privacy risks that result from changes made in privacy settings;
- Parental oversight. Game developers and designers should consider providing parents with “real-time alerts” about their children’s activities and information on how to better protect their children in an online environment;
- Nudging. Game developers and designers should discourage the use of “nudge techniques” to avoid a potential reduction of children’s protection in privacy settings. For example, children should not be encouraged to create or link their social media accounts to games in exchange of rewards or discounts.
Covington’s Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Team will continue to monitor developments in children’s privacy in the gaming industry. Our team is happy to assist with any inquiries relating to children’s privacy, and other tech regulatory matters.