New Feature: Roblox Launches Avatar-Based Voice Calls With Facial Motion Tracking


Roblox, the popular online gaming platform, has announced its plans to expand beyond its traditional identity as a game platform for kids. At its annual developer’s conference, the company unveiled a new feature called Roblox Connect, which is set to launch later this year. This feature allows users to engage in avatar-based voice calls with facial motion tracking, creating a more immersive and realistic experience.

Roblox Connect: A Virtual Hangout Experience

Roblox Connect is a new animated video calling product that combines elements of Zoom and Memoji. Users can now connect with their friends who also use Roblox and engage in virtual hangouts. This feature brings two avatars together in a virtual space, such as a dock or a campsite, using Roblox’s facial motion tracking technology to mirror the exact facial expressions of the users.

Key Takeaway

Roblox is expanding its offerings with Roblox Connect, a new feature that allows users to engage in avatar-based voice calls with facial motion tracking. By leveraging its existing investments in technology, Roblox aims to provide a more immersive and realistic experience for its users. This move demonstrates the company’s commitment to evolving beyond its traditional image as a game platform for kids and catering to a wider range of demographics.

The announcement from Roblox’s Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer stated, “In the near future, a person’s avatar will mirror their exact facial expressions, right down to the same blink rate.” This advancement in technology aims to provide a more present and immersive experience for users.

Expanding Possibilities for Developers

Roblox plans to launch Roblox Connect later this year and make it available to developers, allowing for more innovations from within its creator community. This product combines Roblox’s existing avatars, voice chat, and camera-based facial animations to create a unique experience, different from the platform’s traditional game-like worlds.

Furthermore, Roblox has plans for “more realistic” movement for its avatars in the future, including motion mapping for hand gestures and upper body movement. These additions are expected to be compatible with basic consumer hardware that can currently run Roblox, making them widely accessible to users.

“Behind the scenes, we’re essentially packaging a Hollywood-style motion capture studio into something that runs on a mobile phone or laptop—without the need for equipment or motion-tracking dots,” the announcement explains. “The device’s camera is all that’s needed to capture motion and translate it in real time.”

Potential Impact and Future Developments

Roblox is betting on the increasing demand for virtual avatars that can express emotions. While the technology for such features is still evolving and often seen as a gimmick, the company believes that its dedicated community will appreciate new ways to connect with each other through Roblox Connect.

Aside from Roblox Connect, the company made several other announcements at its developer event, including the news that Roblox will finally be available on PS4 and PS5 starting next month. This move further solidifies Roblox’s commitment to cross-platform compatibility, similar to its competitor Epic’s approach with Fortnite. The inclusion of Sony’s gaming consoles has been a long-awaited addition to Roblox’s strategy.

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