Roblox acquires voice tech startup Speechly to add voice chat moderation to its platform

Roblox has acquired Y Combinator-backed voice tech startup Speechly to bolster its platform with voice chat moderation features. The news of the acquisition just two years after the gaming giant announced it was integrating voice chat on its Roblox platform.

The Helsinki, Finland-based Speechly offers cutting-edge voice chat moderation, real-time transcription, and Voice API which enable various enterprises to seamlessly integrate AI voice capabilities and voice interfaces into their respective products and immersive experiences.

Speechly was founded in 2016 with a mission to elevate the quality of computer-based voice interactions and facilitate enhanced online communication among individuals. In pursuit of this vision, Speechly developed an innovative real-time voice moderation technology. This technology plays a pivotal role in curbing harmful and toxic behavior within online communities. In a blog post, Speechly co-founder and CTO Hannes Heikinheimo wrote:

“We are excited to announce that Speechly is joining Roblox! We founded Speechly in 2016 with the belief that voice was the future of interaction online and our mission was to enable more delightful computer voice interactions and to empower and enhance communication between people.”

Heikinheimo added, “Roblox is building the leading platform for 3D immersive communication and connection. Every day 65.5 million daily active users of all ages come to Roblox to be together, experience, and create memories with friends. With the addition of new voice features, including voice chat, Roblox is solving new challenges—moderating spoken language in real time. Safety and civility are foundational to Roblox. We are excited to be joining a company dedicated to safety and civility and to use our AI expertise to evolve traditional methods of moderation to meet the scale, real-time, and dynamic needs of a user-generated content (UGC) platform.”

It is worth noting that the significance of this acquisition is underscored by recent statistics. According to Speechly’s research, an impressive 70% of gamers have ventured into the realm of voice chat at least once in their gaming endeavors. However, an alarming 72% of these individuals have encountered incidents involving toxic behavior during their voice chat interactions. This acquisition by Roblox marks a proactive step toward fostering a more inclusive and enjoyable online gaming environment.

We wrote about Roblox back in 2021 when the San Francisco-based gaming startup went public with an eye-popping $38 billion market cap to usher in a new era of Metaverse. Unlike other gaming companies, Roblox is building on the “metaverse” concept or a virtual world where people can gather to play, work, and socialize. Roblox is more of a creator platform than a gaming platform.

Roblox was founded in 2004 by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel. The Roblox is a children’s gaming and creator platform that offers a shared digital experience that brings people together through play. Unknown to many, however, the success of the $45 billion company is also built almost entirely off the spending habits and work of children, who see little to no reward for their efforts. Roblox also promises kids can “earn serious cash,” but that’s not really the case.

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