NCSOFT issued its first sustainability report, ‘NCSOFT ESG PLAYBOOK 2020’. The sustainability report is issued for the first time in the local gaming industry and contains the company’s objectives and achievements in the area of environment, society, and governance. The entire report, both in Korean and English, could be downloaded from the company’s official website (link). In this report, the core values and activities of NCSOFT will be introduced based on its four ESG visions. We would like to ask for your attention to our commitment to a fundamental and qualitative change for the future.
NCSOFT dreams of joy in heading into the right direction with sincerity
NCSOFT established the ESG Steering Committee for the first time in the gaming industry in March 2021 and announced the vision of the company’s ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) management. After then, the company prepared action plans and reviewed previous efforts and results to systemize its ESG management. As a result, it issued the first sustainability report in August, titled, ‘NCSOFT ESG PLAYBOOK 2020’. CSO Songyee Yoon, the chairperson of the ESG Steering Committee, said, “Instead of finding and doing the ‘good things that will catch other’s eyes just to improve the ESG evaluation grades’, we studied ourselves based on even stricter standards to prevent the things that we overlooked from causing unintended results and asked ourselves what could be the ‘sincere actions’ we could take”, revealing the future direction of sustainable management of NCSOFT.
The sustainability report contains the company’s objectives and visions to head in the right direction with sincerity in mind to build ‘a world where everyone is connected by joy’. The report is composed of four parts, including △ NC Overview (corporate introduction and value and future of the gaming industry), △ PUSH for a Better Future (Chairperson’s message, a healthy corporate culture, unbiased joy, a reliable global service environment, technology development and ethical values, creation of opportunity for future generations) △ PLAY for Sustainability (governance, ethics management, care for employees, communication with customers, local community, environmental management), △ ESG APPENDIX (materiality test, ESG-related policies, GRI Standards Index, SASB Index, ESG data, third-party assurance statement).
Creating joy based on diversity, inclusion, and unbiased content
The core values that are sought after by NCSOFT in its ESG management are ‘diversity and inclusion’. To this end, the ‘diversity/inclusion framework’ was defined to embed the values in the company’s culture and service.
NC Diversity/Inclusion Framework
NCSOFT aims to create an inclusive organizational culture where everyone could grow together. To this end, it is making efforts to establish a flexible communication culture for all executives and employees and to build an environment where people with a common goal could make challenges to achieve them. The ‘I&M REPORT’ town hall meetings take place every quarter to let all executives and employees including the CEO discuss current issues in the company and think about their solutions, and the NCDP (NCSOFT Developers Party), a conference to share knowhow and technology accumulated during the course of development, is also held to share knowledge. Also, NCSOFT has operated and developed the programs and systems to help individuals freely realize and share their capabilities, including the so-called ‘team transfer’ system where executives and employees could try new duties and projects.
Overseas branch offices are also making efforts to build a healthy organizational culture and to embrace diversity, NCSOFT West in North America, has operated the D&I (Diversity & Inclusion) Committee, provided related education, and made efforts to recruit talents from diverse cultural backgrounds. Also, NC Vietnam Visual Studio runs diverse D&I programs including commemoration of Women's Day.
The composition and disposition of the users are very diverse and are difficult to expect. This would mean that a company could get responses from the market only if it could embrace various preferences and tastes. NCSOFT understands the importance of the meaning of diversity and inclusion and has made continuous efforts to secure such values. NCSOFT understands the superficial (gender, age, race, etc.) and cultural diversity (tradition, ethics, ethnic stereotype, etc.) and applies ‘culturalization’ to its games. Also, it carries out R&D, including academic research, in order to develop the characters reflecting users’ preferences. Moreover, NCSOFT is creating a communication culture that considers diversity and inclusion in its contents through carrying out the QA process based on the perspective of diversity and inclusion, defining unethical expressions, developing related technologies to prevent hate and conflict speech, etc.
An effort to spread ethical values in technology: establishment of NC AI Ethics Framework
As AI becomes the paradigm of the current age, it is important to not only pursue technology development, but also establish related principles and guidelines to enable growth of AI as a ‘human-centered technology’. Until now, NCSOFT has constantly raised the ethical issues that will become prominent in the age of AI. NCSOFT has produced contents based on which people could understand the influence of technology and view its development from multiple dimensions and actively shared them in and outside the Company. It has also supported development of educational curricula in MIT, Stanford, and Harvard since 2020 based on its recognition of the importance of ethics education in the field of AI.
After creating an AI research organization in 2011 to start research in a full-fledged manner, NCSOFT has commercialized AI technology in diverse areas through expanding its reach from games to baseball and entertainment. Therefore, the company mulled over practical actions to respond to the issues to be caused by AI technology in a preemptive manner, and together with the issuance of the sustainability report, it announced the establishment of ‘NC AI Ethics Framework’, which was based on the core values of Data Privacy, Unbiased, and Transparency. The framework included the company’s commitment to “protect the users’ data in development of AI technology, make sure that the technology is not social biased, and pursue development of the technology that is easy to understand.” The values of ‘NC AI Ethics Framework’ will be reflected in the development and implementation of the technology and detailed guideline for implementation of each core value will be introduced.
Also, as part of the efforts to invigorate the discussion on AI ethics, NCSOFT has posted the ‘AI Framework’ series on its official YouTube channel since April 2021. The content proposes new perspective and direction for the way we understand AI technology through discussion between CSO Songyee Yoon and distinguished scholars in the field of AI. For instance, Director Fei-Fei Li and Associate Director Rob Reich of Stanford HAI were invited to discuss ‘AI ethics’ and ‘AI ethics education’. CSO Songyee Yoon plans to continue communication on the future direction of AI technology through discussions with renowned AI researchers and distinguished scholars in respective fields.
Building a reliable global service environment based on strict security and safety
NCSOFT collects and maintains much personal information through servicing its online and mobile games and maintains information properties. To protect such information, NCSOFT has established the information security and personal information protection management system based the five themes, including policy, organization, system, internalization, and performance.
NCSOFT has established the information security regulations and personal data processing guidelines based on its policy and operated the organization responsible for information security and personal data protection. Also, it has laid the foundation for safer service environment through educating the internal executives and employees and internalizing the importance of information security and personal data protection. NCSOFT is improving the security awareness among its executives and employees through providing diverse internal information security trainings, in addition to the ones required by laws and regulations.
Also, since the company had launched many games and services on a global scale, NCSOFT had to ensure stricter security and stability to respond to the open environment without any regional boundaries. NCSOFT has established and continuously updated the information security system based on global standards to provide even safer services to its customers.
The information security policy and system established by NCSOFT are well in line with the global certification standards. NCSOFT has acquired ISO 27001, the international information security management system certification established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) as well as the national information security system standard of ISMS-P through safeguarding personal data and further reinforcing its information security. In 2021, NCSOFT plans to make an information protection disclosure, which informs the status of the company’s investment, workforce, and security activities related to information protection to garner trust from even more customers. Also, NCSOFT will implement the ‘Bug Bounty’ system, which is a system to reward the users reporting bugs, as part of the efforts to protect users’ data and to improve safety of service.
Efforts for the ‘future generation’ holding the key for growth of the future society
Sufficient consideration must be given to the future generation, our children to lead the future, in order to ensure consistent growth and development of our society. Through NC Cultural Foundation, a non-for-profit foundation that it established in commemoration of its 15th anniversary in 21, NCSOFT also focuses on the projects to contribute to the transformation of our society into a more creative and equal one. Projectory, the representative project of the foundation, helps creating a culture where the future generation would make creative attempts, experience failures in a safer environment, and create a culture where they could freely imagine and make challenges.
Projectory means a ‘laboratory’ where individuals could freely carry out their ‘projects’. The objective of the project is to provide the opportunities to future generation to plan and experiment the projects that dig deeper into their areas of interest in a space that is not the one of their everyday lives, including their home and schools, and to strengthen their confidence through success and failure. Also, Projectory collaborates with the local caregiving institutions to prevent more children from being isolated and to support them to experience creative activities and makes efforts to enhance its participation in the local community. In Gwangju Design Biennale to open in September 2021, NCSOFT will provide a space where people could experience everyday creativity and the culture of tolerance under the theme of ‘d-Revolution (a revolution through design)’ to continue communication between the public and the future generation.
As part of NCSOFT’s projects to support the underprivileged people in the society, ‘My AAC’ application was developed to help those that experience difficulties in linguistic expression and understanding effectively communicate their intentions through supplementing their spoken language or using alternative methods. With much focus on improved user experience, ‘My ACC’ provides various (1,000) words and a function to add one’s own symbols, and the app has achieved a significant result, recording the number of accumulated downloads of 117,059 (as of December 31, 2020). Also, NC Cultural Foundation has published children’s books on the subjects like disability, gender, environment, and culture since 2019 to help children grow as open-minded ones respecting diversity. Among them 『Observing Dong-gu』 and 『The Wind』 were donated to 500 public and small-sized libraries nationwide, and the entirety of the proceeds from the sales of the books was used for disabled children.
NCSOFT will take steps forward focusing on what it can do best based on sincere actions
NCSOFT will never stop dreaming and making challenges until we could achieve a new future where everyone is connected through joy and the uncharted future could be filled with the feeling of joy. We will keep monitoring if the things that we overlook during the course of our challenges would lead to unintended results and will create the future together with the diverse stakeholders.
NCSOFT plans to issue the sustainability report every year in order to raise awareness of its ESG management activities and related efforts and to share knowhow. Also, it will continue its communication through various channels, including the official blog. We sincerely hope that many users would join us in the journey to make challenges to create new values based on our sincere action.
*Users can view ‘NCSOFT ESG PLAYBOOK 2020’ in the sustainability section of the company’s official website. (Link)