VOICE chat is coming to Roblox as the developers prepare to roll it out across the metaverse.
Roblox chief product officer, Manuel Bronstein, made the announcement on a blog post, saying the feature is a part of a vision for the future of the platform.
Voice chat has the potential to be a contentious issue, given the nature of how the service works.
Roblox offers a platform for creators to make their own games or virtual experiences.
It struggled with moderation in the past, but has since introduced a number of tools and safety measures to keep its younger audience safe.
Around half of Roblox users are under 13 years old, so after shoring up the safety and security issues it ran into, the team is now addressing voice chat with the requisite care and attention.
Currently in an invitation-only beta, Spatial Voice is essentially proximity-based voice chat.
A large portion of the announcement is spent describing how talking to people in real life works, but we’ll take it as a given that you’ve figured that out already.
Spatial Voice simulates that in a virtual environment, meaning that as your avatar moves through the world, you’ll be able to speak and listen to the avatars of other users that are close by.
If they’re far away, you won’t be able to hear as clearly, to a point where you can’t hear them at all if you wander off altogether.
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Spatial voice doesn’t stop there; the creators also want you to be able to chat to friends in a Roblox experience, as well as those who may not even be online at all.
There are a number of services that already provide this, with Discord being a big one.
It started off as a tool for gamers, but has since been adopted as a handy way to keep in touch with friends and family via voice, text, and video chat. whether they’re in a video game or out doing things in the real world.
Happily, Roblox acquired Discord competitor Guilded just last month, which should help tick that ambition off the list.
The post also takes great pains to point out that voice chat is expected to be civil and will face the same penalties for breaching community guidelines as text chat.
Because of all of those stipulations and the nature of internet denizens, Roblox’s Spatial Voice rollout is going to be slow and deliberate.
Testing is kicking off with the developer community before slowly expanding with the appropriate tools and measures to keep users’ safety a priority.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Bronstein explains, “I think we want to take it slowly and we want to learn as we go through it.
“We may start, as I mentioned, with the developers. It is likely that right after that, we may go to an audience that is 13+ and park there for a while until we understand exactly if all the pieces are falling into place before deciding if we ever open it to a younger audience.”
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