Roblox voice chat feature: When is its release date and is it safe?

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Roblox voice chat | iTMunch

Online game Roblox is one of the most widely loved and played games with Adopt Me. It has been played over 20 billion times [1]. For a long time now, there’s speculation about Roblox adding voice chat. So, is Roblox adding voice chat feature? Yes, it is. The online game platform is all set to add a new voice chat feature. To answer the question as to when the Roblox voice chat feature is going to be live, reports suggest that there’s no release date announced by the company but the feature is expected to arrive soon in 2021.

The company confirmed the arrival of this feature in its Investor Day meeting held on February 26th 2021. Roblox has been developing the voice chat feature since 2019. In the gaming studio’s recent Investor Day meeting, they announced that they’re focused on catering to older users, as 44% of the people that play Roblox are said to be over the age of 13 [2]. Though the news of Roblox voice chat may sound like welcome news at first, a huge chunk of fans are concerned about the 56% who play the game. 

More on Roblox adding voice chat

During the company’s most recent investor call, Roblox vice president of engineering Adam Miller discussed the popularity of text communications on the platform, noting as of Dec. 31, 2020, Roblox had processed more than 2 billion chat messages daily. In the future, we expect to open up communication through safe voice chat, said Miller.

During the same meeting, Vice President of Engineering at Roblox Adam Miller said that text chat is the core of the company’s communication today. In the future, Roblox expects to open up communication via safe voice chat, said Miller. This might seem like the natural next step since the company is also planning to add display names to its game. A release date for this feature of Roblox hasn’t been announced either, but the display names can be anything the players want them to be.

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Parents’ concern about the voice chat feature

gaming studio Roblox logo | iTMunch

During a call with investors, gaming studio Roblox Corporation said that they will be adding a “safe” voice chat feature to the Roblox game. What exactly they mean when they say ‘safe’ and what kind of tools will be deployed to maintain a safe environment for kids hasn’t been revealed yet. It is to be noted that other gaming studios have tried and failed to create safe video chat options in their games in the past.

Game Rant said that over half of all kids in the United States play Roblox. Though Roblox is a game for kids, it is available to people of all ages. Adding a voice chat feature to Roblox might expose younger children to inappropriate topics or bad language said between older players. Twitterati are already talking about children being called slurs and giving away important or private information about themselves unintentionally and without realizing the consequences.

According to a FAQ on Roblox’s website, when a child signs up for a Roblox account, text chat settings are automatically restricted by the website so that they can send messages only to those players they have accepted as ‘Friends’. Parents also have the power to disable the chat function in Roblox. A growing concern with introducing the Roblox voice chat feature is potentially exposing children to profanity and other inappropriate language. There’s a possibility that Roblox might introduce privacy settings where children are limited to send voice chat only to their friends. The company says that it currently employs over 2,300 trust and safety professionals to screen inappropriate content on the platform.

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Roblox response to voice chat concerns

Gaming studio Roblox is yet to respond to the concerns raised and say what exactly will be done to make the voice chat feature safer for younger children. Experts suspect that only players over a certain age would be able to use the Roblox voice chat feature or that it might require consent to each time they log in to the game.

Though the company is yet to respond, in the Investor Day meeting, Miller said that safety is paramount and Roblox will filter all text communications in order to block inappropriate content, which includes profanity and personal information. The ultimate goal is to enable safe as well as positive communication and communicating with our friends is key to our social experience, Miller adds. When players communicate, they tend to be more engaged more, enjoy playing together more and even purchase more.

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Sources

[1] PCGames (2021) “Adopt Me, Roblox’s most popular game, has been played 20 billion times” [Online] Available from: https://www.pcgamesn.com/roblox/most-popular-game-adopt-me [Accessed March 2021]

[2] gamesindustry.biz (2021) “Roblox’s strategy to focus on catering to older users” [Online] Available from: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-03-01-robloxs-strategy-to-focus-on-catering-to-older-users [Accessed March 2021]

Image Courtesy

Feature Image: Roblox

Image 1: Raúl Santos Cajo

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