One of the best parts about gaming with your friends is the non-stop smack talk. For the estimated 300 million deaf gamers worldwide, engaging in this pastime has been complicated.
Pilsen Callao, the self-described beer of friendship in Peru, stepped in, with help from FTW DDB Peru and Fahrenheit DDB, to make gaming more inclusive.
Meet the “E-nterpreters,” bots that are trained to translate gamers’ real-time conversations into sign language inside Discord. The video below explains how the E-nterpreters work and interviews deaf gamers who describe that FOMO feeling when playing with friends.
“When I play with my friends, and we talk, I chat with them,” says one gamer. “But you can’t stop all the games to do that. So they send me voice notes, but I can’t hear anything. I’d rather play alone.”
Gamers can download the E-nterpreters from the Pilsen Callao site and activate them when they sign back in to Discord.
So how did a beer company get involved in the gaming community? It all goes back to friendship.
“Pilsen Callao has been working in recent years on the concept of friendship without differences, and this should also be reflected in video games,” says Sergio Franco, general creative director of Fahrenheit DDB/FTW DDB Peru. “Since video games are one of the main spaces for socialization, a place that, thanks to Discord, is not only a space where we give instructions or orders, it has also become the ideal place where friends talk to each other. But for some sectors, there is an inequity, especially when we talk about deaf people, those who cannot socialize in the same way when conversing within Discord.”
The bots were promoted on Pilsen Callao’s social media platforms and through well-known gamers in Peru. The project took 10 months to complete with help from ASL groups and deaf gamers for real-time feedback.
“The development of the bot was most challenging because we had to do a lot of research within the community and struggled with the little data that it currently has,” Franco tells Muse. “From there, we found various ASL groups or deaf/HoH gamers, who helped us throughout the development of the campaign. But we are also seeking more developers who are currently in the research process who can adapt our development and thus integrate it into other channels or other technologies that promote platform equity. If more people help us by integrating motion capture and languages, we can finally unify this ‘new gamer sign language.’ “
Adds Carmen María Bell-Taylor, marketing director of Pilsen Callao, AB-InBev Peru: “As a result of the pandemic, virtual spaces became even more relevant, such as video games, which are an important socialization space for young people today. This project is in line with the purpose and commitment that we have made as a brand for some years to promote social contexts that promote equality and foster a healthy friendship. Once we identified that many deaf gamers could not be a part of video games like the rest of their friends, we carried out a solution to include them.”
By Amy Corr