The popular online platform Roblox features over 50 million fans and hundreds of available games, making it one of the most successful video game corporations in the world. The company models itself as a child-friendly space where young game developers can make money selling their work. However, the YouTube channel People Make Games argues that Roblox‘s success is coming at the cost of its young developers.
Roblox‘s origins appear to be relatively straightforward: it began as a platform that allowed kids to mess around with game development tools and create games for other kids. However, Roblox has since added a feature that allows players to spend real money to purchase an in-game currency called Robux, which can be used to buy cosmetics. Players who host a game on Roblox can earn Robux and then withdraw their profits as real money after hitting a certain benchmark.
However, People Make Games reports that Roblox takes a 75.5% cut from the games it hosts, which allegedly leads to the company exploiting young developers. To make matters worse, Roblox apparently encourages kids to join unregulated social media by connecting young developers with existing development communities–communities that are hosted off the platform, where Roblox can’t monitor them. The result may lead to underage developers working in environments with unsafe practices, which is why People Make Games states that Roblox isn’t safe for children. It appears that over half the kids in America play Roblox, so making sure the platform is safe for kids is quite important.
Although Roblox has introduced an age verification system to improve security for younger players, moderation remains a major issue on the platform. In fact, Roblox has been accused of glaring security errors as recently as May, in a report that claimed the company’s poor security had put 100 million player’s data at risk. People Make Games also states that Roblox Collectible Market is dangerously close to gambling, complete with greatly fluctuating prices in the store and a stock market-like graph that shows these price changes in far more detail than typical gacha mechanics.
Furthermore, it appears that some of the most popular games hosted on Roblox may not be appropriate for children. Roblox may have banned romantic gestures like holding hands or kissing, but the platform still allows young developers to download, play, or help create horror games. All of these factors together appear to back up People Make Games’ assertion that Roblox is not a safe space for children to learn game development.
Roblox is available now on PC, Xbox One, and mobile devices.