Player Verification for Smurf-and-Cheater-Free E-Sports Competitions
Fully Automated Online ID Verification with AI at the GoBIG League
E-Sports Competition – The Challenge
The guiding principle in e-sports is the same as in any offline sports competition: fairness, respect and enjoyment for all participants. Yet, if one does not participate in a face-to-face competition but instead competes against others online as an e-sports player under a user profile, this can allow for disruptive behaviours never experienced in the analogue world of sports. Such as smurfing: a player opens additional accounts with which he or she competes “undetected” against unsuspecting opponents to whom the player is clearly superior, who are consequently humiliated in the unequal competition. Or the team’s success is doomed if the smurfer strays out of line and sabotages the game, but with no consequence, as the bully uses a virtual profile in which they are not identifiable. Multi-accounts are not just used for smurfing, but also for cheating, namely, cheating by means of technological hacks.
The GoBIG League, the official partner of the gaming platform FACEIT in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) for the DACH region, explicitly advocates against unsportsmanlike behaviours in its Code of Conduct. From the outset, the League has also been actively searching for a technological solution to ensure a community free of smurfs and cheaters.
The Solution with AI Ident
The clear objective for a smurf-and-cheater-free game is to prevent multiple accounts and to ensure only one account per player. Should the person responsible for a player account be positively identified, then he or she would immediately be identified when attempting to open an additional account. Similarly, a positive person identification is a quality safeguard for the payout of prize money.
Ideally, the advantages of such accounts should be utilized from the outset, in other words, they should be guaranteed from initial participation in the game. In this way, the optimal moment to create these secure player accounts would be when signing up for the league. It was of great importance to the team behind the GoBIG League that those signing up for the league should also be able to compete as quickly as possible: It should not be expected of the e-sports players that they experience delays to the start of the game when setting up a secure account.
Player verification via WebID as one of the process steps involved in registering for the league, fulfils all the above-mentioned requirements – with AI Ident as a fully automated, swift and secure online process based on artificial intelligence and biometrics recognition.
Successes of the GoBIG League
The GoBIG League is the first e-sports league in Germany in which participants play CS:GO in hubs devoid of smurfs and cheaters. The unique personal identification feature with AI Ident is a highly effective means to prevent smurfs and cheaters in that it establishes formidable hurdles to setting up multi-accounts. To accomplish this, players undertake the following registration process:
Players log on to gobig.gg with their personal data and select a subscription. They initiate their data verification process via their profile – this data is not displayed to other players – and after short independent verification for accuracy, they are then routed to WebID.
One photograph of the identity card or passport with the smartphone camera or webcam, one photo of the face, and that’s it! Verification is fully automated.
They subscribe to the Hub, connect to the Teamspeak communication tool and start playing!
The outcome vindicates the GoBIG League’s innovative approach by being the first platform to implement badge verification for a community league:
Contented community. The verification via WebID or the efforts to eliminate smurfs and cheaters is the answer given most often (20%) when players are asked why they enjoy the GoBIG League. The fact that the threshold for cheating is set so high is valued, and most players are prepared to accept that the ID verification process requires a maximum of just under two minutes time to complete.
Reduction of administrative tasks. Virtually no effort is required to process support tickets on account of cheaters and reports on multi-accounts caused by smurfs. Should multiple accounts appear, no manual processing is necessary since the elimination is fully automated. The highly experienced creators of the GoBIG League have learned through their cooperation with other platforms about the time and effort required for discussions and complaints. They were not required to use the capacities necessary to estimate this since they implemented player verification when the League was launched.
High data quality. Verification leads to “unique players”; as a result, the data quality of the player pool is exceptionally high, opening up corresponding marketing opportunities to the League’s partners.