Roblox is launching its own take on video chat called Roblox Connect, the company announced at its Roblox Developers Conference (RDC) 2023 on Friday. The feature, which is set to launch later this year, lets you chat with other people as your Roblox avatar, and your avatar will be able to mimic your real-life facial movements. The call will also take place in a shared virtual space that you can run around in, like a campsite or a dock.
Roblox is already designed to be a social app where you can use text and voice chat to keep in touch while exploring virtual experiences with your friends, so it’s not too much of a stretch for the company to make a video-focused feature that’s also designed as a place to hang out and talk. It’s also an easy way for Roblox to show off its recently launched facial animations. (I have to imagine Roblox Connect will be Roblox’s preferred way to do interviews at its in-Roblox career center, especially when paired with Roblox’s plan to introduce support for real names.)
Interestingly, Roblox plans to open source Roblox Connect, Roblox chief product officer Manuel Bronstein and CTO Daniel Sturman said in a blog post, and that could mean that we see other developers put their own spin on Roblox Connect down the line.
Personally, I don’t think I’ll use Roblox Connect all that much; video calls are hard enough without worrying what my virtual avatar looks like. But with new tools like Roblox Connect and Google’s AI-focused upgrades to Meet, maybe I spoke too soon when I wrote that the video call revolution is dead.