Bulletins

Epic Games is making its kids safety tech available for free

The Fortnite creator is including subsidiary SuperAwesome's tech into its online services platform.

Screenshot of the SuperAwesome's Kids Web Services.

Epic Games acquired SuperAwesome last year and now plans to make its tech available for free.

Image: Epic Games

Epic is making its parent verification system available for free as part of its online services platform, the company announced on Thursday. The technology is used by a number of popular online games, including Fortnite and Pokémon Go, and it's the product of a company named SuperAwesome, which Epic purchased in September 2020.


The goal of SuperAwesome's parent verification, part of a product suite called Kids Web Services, is to allow children under the age of 13 to play online games with the full consent of their parent or guardian. Epic is now making it freely available through its Epic Online Services platform, which makes features Epic built for Fortnite like cross-platform play and cloud saving available to any game developer at no cost.

The verification system checks a parent's credit card details and the last four digits of their Social Security number, as well as other biographical information, against government records to make sure someone under the age of 13 isn't sneaking onto an app or game by misrepresenting their age or identity. One of the main concerns in the U.S. is COPPA, or the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, that penalizes tech providers with steep fines for gathering account information on children under the age of 13. Yet because so many apps and games rely on only a simple age verification question during signup if someone is of age, it's fairly easy to bypass without a parent knowing.

"We started the company about eight years ago, looking at the number of kids going online and the rise of privacy laws, specifically COPPA. As we started to talk to more people, we realized back then nobody really wants to talk about kids on the internet. They were just happy for everyone to tick a box and pretend they were someone else," said SuperAwesome CEO Dylan Collins in an interview with Protocol. "We wanted to make it easier for developers and content owners to have compliant interaction with young audiences."

Prior to joining Epic, SuperAwesome's platform had a price tag that scaled with the size of a company's product or service, making it prohibitive to small- or medium-sized companies, Collins said. "The very, very big developers can afford to think about young audiences," he said. "They can build homegrown solutions to allow parents to verify and in turn provide consent for their kids to use services. For most medium-sized developers, a lot of the friction they see is economic. It's an extra cost to implement, and it's not straightforward in the first place."

Collins said he hopes making this verification feature freely available is the first step toward building a better ecosystem for both developers creating games and the parents of younger children who might play them.

"You look at the kid tech space [that] has had a fairly profound lack of investment relative to the number of kids online generally," he said. "Five years ago, people were afraid to talk about this publicly. If you go forward in time five or 10 years, for any user that is interacting with a service or piece of content there can be infrastructure at multiple levels that is automatically switching between the privacy and content needs of an 8-year-old, a 14-year-old and a 25-year-old."

Latest Bulletins

People under 18 and their parents are now able to request the removal of pictures from Google search results. The change is one of many new under-18 protections Google announced in August, according to TechCrunch.

Keep Reading Show less

Affirm announced a "buy now, pay later" deal with American Airlines which would let travelers pay for flights by installment, the company said Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

Staff members at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have begun looking at the Facebook Papers and are checking if the company has violated its prior privacy settlement with the agency, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Keep Reading Show less

Robinhood missed earning expectations on a 78% drop in crypto trading revenue, and shares dropped after hours.

Keep Reading Show less

Stripe and Klarna are taking on demand for "buy now, pay later" services together through a new partnership deal.

Keep Reading Show less

Facebook has gone through the wringer in recent weeks. Luckily Mark Zuckerberg sees a billion-dollar opportunity at the end of the tunnel: digital clothes in the metaverse.

Keep Reading Show less

A consortium of blockchain companies, NFT gaming firms and the nonprofit Fight for the Future are calling on Valve to reverse its blockchain ban in an open letter published Tuesday.

Keep Reading Show less

Executives from Snap and TikTok testified for the first time before Congress on Tuesday during a hearing on keeping kids safe online. As part of the hearing, both companies, as well as YouTube, agreed to share internal research with Congress about their platforms' impact on kids.

Keep Reading Show less

President Joe Biden has nominated Jessica Rosenworcel, the acting chair of the Federal Communications Commission, to serve as the official head of the agency, and former FCC official Gigi Sohn for the open commission slot, the White House announced Tuesday.

Keep Reading Show less

Amazon is the latest company to set its sights on the live audio market, following in the footsteps of last year's breakout startup Clubhouse. The new product is a multi-platform app known right now as "Project Mic," according to a new report from The Verge.

Keep Reading Show less

Facebook expects to spend more than $10 billion on AR, VR and related hardware as well as the development of metaverse apps and services this year. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors during the company's Q3 earnings call Monday that the company will ramp up investment in the area, and warned that it won't see a return on that investment any time soon.

Keep Reading Show less

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin wants to build a private space station in low-earth orbit in the next decade, intended for research, commerce, space tourism or as a leasable "address for orbit."

Keep Reading Show less

Tesla became a $1 trillion company Monday when its share price soared above $1000, ending at $1,024 when the market closed Monday.

Keep Reading Show less

The State Department has decided to create a bureau of cyberspace and digital policy, as well as a new point person or group for issues of emerging or critical technologies, in order to address international concerns with hacking, ransomware and internet freedom, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Keep Reading Show less

Spotify, Dell and SAP topped this year's "America's Most Loved Workplaces" rankings from Newsweek.

The first-ever rankings from Newsweek took into account several criteria for inclusion for the 100 companies that made the cut, including collaboration and teamwork, opportunities for advancement, doing good and a "practice-what-you-preach" culture, as well as how employees feel about the organization.

Keep Reading Show less

Global memory prices may rise after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck early Sunday in Taiwan and impacted production at a Micron Technology facility responsible for nearly 10% of the world's memory supply.

Keep Reading Show less

Faze Clan, the gaming company known best for its roster of social media personalities and esports teams, is going public through a SPAC merger next year in a deal valuing the company at $1 billion.

Keep Reading Show less

Mastercard providers will be able to issue crypto debit and credit cards and offer crypto rewards thanks to a new partnership with digital assets exchange Bakkt announced today.

Keep Reading Show less

Guessing poor passwords and basic email phishing attacks really seem to work, according to a report out from Microsoft today that the Russian hackers behind the SolarWinds attack have been using this basic technique to successfully breach as many as 14 U.S.-based companies.

Keep Reading Show less

A Twitter account promoting the Shiba Inu cryptocurrency did not get what it was hoping for when it asked Elon Musk how much $Shib he owns. "None," was Musk's one-word response.

Keep Reading Show less

Hertz has purchased 100,000 Tesla vehicles for its rental offerings in the U.S. and in parts of Europe, as the company pushes to try to electrify its fleet of rental cars, the company announced today.

Keep Reading Show less

Responding to rumors from last week, PayPal said Sunday that it was "not pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest at this time."

Keep Reading Show less

Adobe said it will place employees on unpaid leave if they're not vaccinated by Dec. 8, CNBC reported Friday. The company cited President Joe Biden's executive order on vaccines as rationale for the new rule, according to a notice the company sent to employees.

Keep Reading Show less

Epic Games will no longer give employees every other Friday off, Bloomberg reported Friday.

Keep Reading Show less

A new Facebook whistleblower is accusing Facebook of prioritizing money over the fight against hate speech and misinformation, The Washington Post reported Friday. The whistleblower, who is a former member of the platform's Integrity team and spoke under the condition of anonymity to The Post, made those claims to the SEC as well.

Keep Reading Show less