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Roblox said it is rolling out voice chat for those who are 13 and older on its user-generated content platform.
The company believes in creating meaningful connections for its players, and so it hopes that communication on Roblox will mirror all the ways we communicate in the real world. The company made the announcement at its Roblox Developer Conference (RDC) event.
Chat now allows users to communicate by speaking with others in experiences. Players will be able to communicate on Roblox with voice as naturally as they would in the physical world, the company said. That’s a pretty big technological achievement, considering Roblox has 52.2 million daily active users.
Roblox will keep its text chat for people under 13, and it will have filters in place for kids. The new voice chat allows 13+ users who are age verified to have reduced chat filters so they can communicate more freely with friends.
Users over 13 years old now make up over half of the Roblox community, and nearly half are female. The fastest growing demographic is 17- 24 year olds, across both male and female users.
Coming later this year, Contact Import will help 13+ users find others by the name they have them saved as in their contacts.
And the company is announcing several innovative features at RDC that will elevate the expressiveness of avatars on Roblox.
On Roblox, your avatar is your identity. Avatars now have high-fidelity human simulation that allow people to express their individuality and connect more meaningfully with friends on Roblox. Avatar heads will expressive and emotive, allowing users to smile and wink.
Soon, Roblox will release chat with others using your avatar – allowing people to have real-time voice communications in experiences, with their camera animating their avatar in the experience, so the avatar expresses their facial expressions as they speak.
Roblox recently rolled out Animation Creator for Emotes and Animation Creator for Faces betas in Studio. The Animation Creator for Emotes is a new solution to make custom full-body animations in Studio. Animation Creator for Faces allows users to create and save unique expressions on the timeline to more easily animate an Avatar Head.
At RDC, the company is launching Facial Animation in the Marketplace. For Studio, Roblox said it has been making substantial improvements to the developer and creator experience, with a refresh to its free developer Studio.
Growing user communities
Roblox provides a platform that helps connect its creator’s content with a massive global audience. As that global audience continues to grow and diversify, it’s important to have more ways to find experiences and user-created items the audience will love.
The vision is to have a personalized discovery system that will distribute content that is most relevant to the audience it is served to.
As the audience grows, Roblox is introducing age recommendations called Experience Guidelines so all users can make informed decisions about the content they interact with.
Experience Guidelines gives creators the freedom to create amazing experiences that reach the right audience based on age appropriateness. These age recommendations are grounded in the mission to connect a billion people with optimism and civility.
The company said it wants the Experience Guidelines to be useful to users and parents. These age recommendations were informed by child development research and industry standards.
Based on these age recommendations, parents will be able to use new Parental Controls that restrict account access by age recommendations, ultimately deciding and managing what is appropriate (thus playable and recommended) for their children.
Monetization for devs, creators and brands
Roblox is also expanding monetization for all developers, creators, and brands too. Immersive ads are engaging native ads within Roblox experiences allowing brands and developers to reach their audiences in the metaverse at scale in a fun, relevant and safe way.
Roblox said these immersive ads will provide brands with another way to be relevant in the metaverse. Brands and developers will be able to reach and influence their audiences.
Roblox will give both brands and developers the tools to facilitate relationships and set the terms and pricing that work for their partnership. Developers will be in control of and earn from Immersive Ads
First, it will start with immersive image ads that are static 3D images in experiences and portal ads that help users discover and transport them to other experiences on Roblox. By end of year, Roblox will test with developers and a handful of advertisers.
Before the second half of 2023, Roblox will do a full launch and will be available for devs and advertisers. The Marketplace vision will be fully UGC with healthy market dynamics mirroring the real-world driven by scarcity, where any creator can earn and create a successful business and users will be able to discover, buy, sell and trade in a marketplace that’s personalized to them.
In addition to embracing a fully UGC marketplace, the vision for this marketplace is to have healthy market dynamics driven by scarcity where all items are limited and the secondary market is open.
The company said it is building on that momentum by adding new mechanics and opportunities for the community to create successful businesses. Creators will have the opportunity to earn a revenue share of the initial sale, plus all resales and trades.
Users will be able to discover items they love and can also buy, sell and trade in the marketplace that is personalized to them. About 2.7 million creators earned Robux in June, and the community earned $538.3 million in 2021.
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FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected.
Spare your feelings
The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.
It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?
Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.
We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.
It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).
Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022
According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.
So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.
Analysis: same price, new world
Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.
Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.
But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.
Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.
Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions.
Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.
These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.
We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.
Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.