Roblox announced Thursday that it is introducing voice chat to its platform by opening Spatial Voice, a feature it calls Spatial Voice, to selected developers in an invitation only beta.
Roblox's chief product officer Manuel Bronstein stated in a blog that Spatial Voice will allow Roblox creators to begin testing conversations in a real-world setting. This will mirror how Roblox users listen to and respond to the world around them every day. Spatial Voice, based on the limited description, will try to replicate the voice of real people and require that you be in close proximity to other players to communicate with them.
Moderation concerns are raised by voice chat
Roblox's addition of voice chat to any type into Roblox raises questions about the company's ability to moderate conversations. This is especially important given Roblox's popularity among children. TechCrunch reports that Roblox will slowly roll out the feature, with access being first granted to 5,000 developers, and that all developers must be at least 13 years old. Bronstein also suggested to TechCrunch that Roblox may not give access to children.
Bronstein stated that we are looking to take things slowly and learn as we go. As I said, we may begin with the developers. We may then go to a 13-plus audience and leave there until we know if everything is in place. Then, we will decide if it is worth opening the site to a younger audience.
Roblox users will be able to self-report any issues they have regarding moderation. Bronstein explained in his blog that the community will be able self-regulate, flagging users who are not following community standards. This user could be removed from an experience, or even lose speaking privileges. This could be a useful tool to identify bad people but the user is responsible for reporting.
TechCrunch also reports that Roblox will soon offer voice chat, which will allow users to talk with their friends from Roblox. This experience is more similar to what you'd get if you were playing Discord with your friends.
Roblox's August acquisition of Guilded, a chat platform that it bought in August, will apparently help to expand voice chat. TechCrunch reports that Roblox's voice work predates the acquisition. However, Guilded will help Roblox to plan for its future voice projects.
Roblox could become a more popular platform for voice chat, which would make it even more competitive with Fortnite and other metaverse-y games such as Fortnite. Roblox is slow to realize the potential benefits voice chat could bring to its platform.