Unity Acquires OTO to Foster Safer Gaming Environments
New Unity survey shows nearly 7 in 10 of players said they’ve experienced toxic behavior in Multiplayer, Cross Platform Gaming
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–$U—Unity (NYSE: U), the world’s leading platform for creating and operating real-time 3D (RT3D) content, today announced the acquisition of OTO, an AI-driven acoustic intelligence platform that can be leveraged to build and foster safer gaming environments with voice and text chat environments. OTO will be integrated into Unity’s industry leading Vivox platform as a cornerstone for solving one of gaming’s global challenges: the rise of toxic behavior that leads to poor player experience, and ultimately, lost revenue for game creators.
“Over the past year, we saw how people all over the world found respite in gaming, due to the desire to connect with friends and family,” said Felix Thé, VP of Product Management, Operate Solutions, Unity. “The findings of our survey being released today also illustrate that with the rise in cross platform, multiplayer gaming, most players also felt there was a surge in toxic behavior. With OTO’s integration into our portfolio of gaming services, we aim to empower creators with a simple, scalable solution to design safe virtual environments that promote friendly experiences and detect problematic social behaviors.”
Unity also released findings from a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on its behalf that illustrates the growing problem around toxicity that impacts not just players, but profits for developers and creators. This survey was conducted online within the United States from June 21-23, 2021. Key findings of the survey include:
- Nearly seven in 10 (68%) of players – defined as those who played multiplayer games in the past year – said they’ve experienced toxic behavior while playing multiplayer games (e.g., sexual harassment, hate speech, threats of violence, doxing).
- Nearly half of players (46%) say that they at least sometimes experience toxic behavior while playing multiplayer video games, with 21% reporting it every time/often.
- 67% of players were very/somewhat likely to stop playing a multiplayer video game if another player were exhibiting toxic behavior.
- 92% of players think solutions should be implemented and enforced to reduce toxic behavior in multiplayer games.
“With more content becoming more dynamic, online, and multiplayer — players are deeply investing in games that can bring them a sense of community,” added Thé. “Keeping the community safe and free from toxic behavior by offering players, moderators, and developers technology that will detect possible unsafe interactions is a responsible path for making games that build lasting communities and player affinity.”
The OTO acquisition brings Unity expertise in acoustic analysis. OTO was started by a group of SRI scientists whose goal was to explore the frontiers of speech understanding by combining their deep expertise in behavioral science and artificial intelligence. Through OTO, Unity and Vivox aim to equip developers with voice analytics capabilities to foster a more positive and engaged community where everyone feels safe and welcomed. Game makers will have access to an acoustic intonation engine that operates 100x faster than speech recognition, is language independent, and is able to detect a wider and more accurate range of disruptive behavior. Developers can then swiftly and efficiently determine the appropriate courses of action to address possible toxic situations.
The transaction closed on August 12, 2021. Financial and legal terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
To download a copy of Unity’s Harris Poll Survey on Toxicity, please visit www.unity.com/toxicity-report.
This Harris Poll survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Unity from June 21-23, 2021 among 2,076 adults ages 18+, among whom 1,167 are multiplayer gamers (i.e., have played multiplayer games in the past year), and 1,010 are cross-platform gamers (i.e., have played cross-platform video games in the past year).
Unity (NYSE: U) is the world’s leading platform for creating and operating real-time 3D (RT3D) content. Creators, ranging from game developers to artists, architects, automotive designers, filmmakers, and others, use Unity to make their imaginations come to life. Unity’s platform provides a comprehensive set of software solutions to create, run and monetize interactive, real-time 2D and 3D content for mobile phones, tablets, PCs, consoles, and augmented and virtual reality devices. The company’s 1,800+ person research and development team keeps Unity at the forefront of development by working alongside partners to ensure optimized support for the latest releases and platforms. Apps developed by Unity creators were downloaded more than five billion times per month in 2020. For more information, please visit www.unity.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including statements regarding Unity and OTO’s ability to build and foster safer environments in games; the integration of OTO into Unity’s portfolio of gaming services, including its Vivox platform; the ability of Unity to empower creators to design safe virtual environments; OTO’s ability to operate 100x faster than speech recognition; and Unity and OTO’s ability to work with developers to determine the appropriate courses of action to both identify and curb toxicity in games. The words “will,” “aim,” “allows,” “can,” “enable,” “objective” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, such as Unity’s ability to successfully integrate OTO’s technology and business; costs related to the acquisition; Unity’s and OTO’s success developing new products or modifying existing products and the degree to which these gain market acceptance; and any unanticipated impact of accounting for the acquisition. If the risks materialize or assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements. Further information on these and additional risks that could affect Unity’s results is included in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including Unity’s Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on August 11, 2021, and Unity’s future reports that it may file with the SEC from time to time, which could cause actual results to vary from expectations. Unity assumes no obligation to, and does not currently intend to, update any such forward-looking statements after the date of this release.
Ryan M. Wallace