A new feature called spatial voice is coming to Roblox, as an invitation only beta started yesterday (September 2) for developers on the platform.
The blog post detailing spatial voice is a little vague, but Roblox chief product officer Manuel Bronstein did say “with spatial voice, Roblox creators will begin to test developing experiences where conversations can happen in a realistic way, mirroring how we listen and respond to the world around us each day.”
One of the aims with Roblox‘s spatial voice is that communication throughout experiences should mirror how people communicate in the real world.
“We raise our voice to reach someone far away, we whisper when we wish to be discreet, we alter our communication style depending on if we are alone or with others, and we use gestures and facial expressions to add nuance and emotion to our words,” said Bronstein in the post.
It sounds like spatial voice will be in some way similar to proximity voice chat, which has voices lower or increase in volume depending on how close players are in-game. TechCrunch interviewed Bronstein about the new feature, and they say the feature will be rolled out to 5,000 developers to begin with, all 13 and over.
Concerns are thus raised about user safety if such voice chat does come to Roblox, with it being one of the most popular online platforms for young children. Bronstein seems aware of this, as he told TechCrunch that the rollout of spatial voice will be a slow and considered one.
“We may start, as I mentioned, with the developers,” explained Bronstein. “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.”
According to developer Roblox Corporation, via TechCrunch, around 50 percent of the games users are over 13 years old, with the biggest growth in the 17 to 24 year olds bracket. Also, as voice chat rolls out the company will be relying on user-driven reports in order to keep the environment safe.
In other news, Streamlabs are implementing a new Safe Mode that aims to tackle hate raids on Twitch. This decision follows the recent #ADayOffTwitch boycott from September 1, which had streamers and viewers not using the platform that day as a way to raise awareness for the lack of support for marginalised streamers falling victim to hate raids.