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Roblox Acquires Speech Recognition Firm Speechly

Speechly, a company specializing in tools for speech recognition and natural language understanding, has been acquired by Roblox, a platform for 3D immersive communication and connection.

This move aims to enhance the voice features of Roblox, including voice chat, and improve the moderation of spoken language in real time, Hannes Heikinheimo, formerly co-founder and chief technology officer at Speechly and now senior engineering manager at Roblox, said in a Tuesday (Sept. 19) blog post.

Speechly was founded in 2016 with the belief that voice would be the future of online interaction, according to the post. With its speech recognition product and solutions, Speechly enabled fast, real-time, and cost-efficient voice moderation, helping developers reduce toxic behavior in online communities.

Roblox, with its user base of 65.5 million daily active users, is dedicated to providing a safe and civil environment for its community, the post said. By incorporating new voice features, such as voice chat, Roblox is addressing the challenge of moderating spoken language in real time.

The addition of Speechly’s AI expertise will help evolve traditional methods of moderation to meet the scale, real-time and dynamic needs of a user-generated content (UGC) platform like Roblox, per the post.

Both Speechly and Roblox share a common vision for safe and civil immersive communication, according to the blog post. They aim to bring more dynamic and nuanced interactivity to the platform through safe and civil voice features. This pairing demonstrates Roblox’s commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of its users while providing an engaging and immersive experience.

Speechly has developed flexible deployment options, including cloud, on-premise, and on-device, along with custom models for any domain, the post said. The company provides scalability for handling hundreds of thousands of hours of audio data.

Roblox reported bookings — the term it uses to represent sales of its Robux virtual currency for in-game purchases — of $780 million in its most recent quarter. That was up from $773 million the previous quarter and up 22% year over year, the company reported in August.

The company also reported that it approached 14 billion hours of engagement on the platform during the quarter.