Unity acquires AI firm OTO

Date Type Companies involved Size
August 25th, 2021 acquisition Unity Not disclosed
Unity acquires AI firm OTO

Engine firm Unity has snapped up AI community management firm OTO.

The company is described as an "AI-driven acoustic intelligence platform," which in English translates to a tool that monitors voice and text chat in-game to keep an eye out for toxic behaviour.

No figure has been placed on the deal. OTO will be integrated with Unity's Vivox platform, which aims to curb bad actors in-game.

The engine firm has also published findings from research into in-game behaviour, saying that 68 per cent of players have experienced toxic behaviour – sexual harassment, hate speech, threats and so on – in multiplayer titles. 46 per cent of users say they sometimes experience this behaviour in-game, with 21 per cent claiming to report it every time it occurs.

“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,” Unity's VP of product management for its Operate Solutions division, Felix Thé, said.

“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 behaviour. 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 behaviours.

“With more content becoming more dynamic, online, and multiplayer -- players are deeply investing in games that can bring them a sense of community. Keeping the community safe and free from toxic behaviour 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.”

Unity also acquired 3D data company Pixyz in June of this year. More recently, there have been reports of staff not being happy with the engine maker signing contracts with the US military.

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Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.