Bridge On BBO: Now With Live Audio

Bridge On BBO: Now With Live Audio

By Alex J. Coyne © Great Bridge Links

We spoke to Dan Storch from BBO about the new live audio feature for games. Here’s how it works, why it’s there, and how to use it.

Update: BBO (with Audio) is now a LIVE feature.

From Dan Storch at Bridge Base Online: “This feature will be available on all premium tournaments (virtual clubs, ACBL games, BBO paid games, etc.). In special events, tournament directors will always decide whether it should be available.“

Great Bridge Links (GBL): What is the goal of audio-video feeds for online bridge?

Dan Storch (BBO): On high-level competition, there is of course the desire to eliminate cheating. Based on what we’ve heard, there is a consensus that audio and video reduce significantly the opportunities for foul play.

That said, the vast majority of BBO players, who are not pros, appreciate the ability to chat with other players at the table because it more closely resembles their experience at the brick-and-mortar bridge club.

Bridge is a social game and players like to engage with each other when they are not throwing cards on the table.

Last but not least, audio is valuable for teachers, as they can easily comment while students play at a practice table.

GBL: Can you say when the feature will officially go live?

BBO: We have several new features in different stages of development. We just made Swiss Team tournaments available for clubs, which is always an exciting tournament format, especially for newer players who have not yet been to a larger tournament.

We also plan to release delayed kibitz very soon.

Video is still in the evaluation stage, but it is certainly in our plans for 2021. Our goal is to implement many improvements next year that make the game more secure and the player experience more enjoyable.

GBL: Is the projected video and audio feed meant for all games and tournaments on BBO? Can game organizers or tournament directors turn this feature on/off? How about individual users?

BBO: We want to make these features widely available, but ultimately the tournament director will decide whether to enable them. Players will also have the discretion to turn the camera off, unless of course the tournament’s CoC requires it always on during play, for security reasons.

GBL: Will audio-video feeds be available for users to view after their games? Is the feature in-app, in-browser, or both?

BBO: We are still evaluating the details. As you can imagine, we are talking about humongous amounts of bandwidth and storage, so replay could be available only in specific events, or as a premium feature.

GBL: Are there any possible user concerns to be addressed so far? (For example, reporting anything inappropriate said or seen.)

BBO: Protecting the privacy of our members is always paramount, so the use of audio/video will always require the player’s consent.

Also, the channels for reporting inappropriate behavior are already in place. As audio and video become prevalent, players will certainly adapt. Time to change those pajamas and brush your hair…

GBL: Is there anything that you would like to add or tell readers?

BBO: I’d like to thank them for the many suggestions and comments that have helped us improve the player experience. BBO was founded and it is run by bridge lovers.

Check after-hours and you’ll likely find many of our employees, including me, sitting at one of our tables.