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We need to talk about Roblox...


squirtle
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My son plays a lot of Roblox. He has asked me to help him make a game in the system. I had considered it, but then...

 

This article on Eurogamer made me wonder... https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-08-20-roblox-exploiting-young-game-developers-new-investigation-reports

 

Then the video contained within made me say no.

 

 

Some of the practices in here sound shady as all hell, and openly admitting that their content creators only get about 17% of any revenue is pretty fucking bleak.

 

I saw that they had been listed on the stock exchange earlier this year for $41bn but it never really occurred to me why they were worth this much. I think the video here only scratches the surface, but this seems to paint a pretty damning picture.

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I was kind of surprised Minecraft became popular, kind of stunned when Fortnite exploded, but the greatest bloody mystery in the game-o-sphere to me is Roblox. 
 

This is where I truly am “too old”.

 

Everything else I read about it is bad, so it’s probably being piled upon by media in the same way when I rolled my eyes at Mortal Kombat articles back in the day. 
 

Isn’t it supposed to be similar to what Dreams is? But yeah, making money on kid creations is at the very least “ethically dubious”.

 

Anyone got a in-depth view on it?

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Yeah I've got the level editor installed, it comes with a Lamborghini asset. How they aren't continually hit with cease and decists I'll never know.

 

Roblox crashes my XSX so hard it'll power cycle, and it caused a new HP laptop to blue screen earlier.

 

The games are the worst kind of cynical simple mechanic, bullshit repetition or pay to win mechanics you'll ever see, but it's a drip feed of progress that my kids are seemingly addicted to. I've let it slide during the pandemic, we all need the mental break and, well, whatever works.

 

I need to put Unity back on and get into that though, rather than support this bullshit platform.

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1 hour ago, TehStu said:

The games are the worst kind of cynical simple mechanic, bullshit repetition or pay to win mechanics you'll ever see, but it's a drip feed of progress that my kids are seemingly addicted to. I've let it slide during the pandemic, we all need the mental break and, well, whatever works.

 

This where I'm at. It's annoying when they are clicking away to make their dude bigger or some shite when they both have Switches and Xboxes with all the AAA titles you'd expect.

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My son (recently turned 10) has played Roblox fairly regularly for three or four years.  Most of it has been spent on one game called Stepford County Railway but he's dipped into a ton of others here and there but he's never really been interested in any of the "pay to win" mechanics.  I've definitely put some money in for him over that time, maybe £30 over the entire duration but that's basically been used as a tip jar for continued development of SCR.  Have we just been lucky that he's never been taken in by the sinister side of Roblox?

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24 minutes ago, Naysonymous said:

My son (recently turned 10) has played Roblox fairly regularly for three or four years.  Most of it has been spent on one game called Stepford County Railway but he's dipped into a ton of others here and there but he's never really been interested in any of the "pay to win" mechanics.  I've definitely put some money in for him over that time, maybe £30 over the entire duration but that's basically been used as a tip jar for continued development of SCR.  Have we just been lucky that he's never been taken in by the sinister side of Roblox?

Based on that video, the sinister side is mostly felt by those making the "experiences", although there is a knock on effect to players due to the sort of games it encourages. Basically it's encouraging kids (mostly) to make games for it with the promise of riches, only to make it all but impossible for said games to make any money, taking an insanely huge cut if they do, setting a crazily high limit for withdrawals (along with a subscription fee) and all but requiring money to bid for advertisement space. Oh, and of course the "Robux" they're paid cost more to sell for actual money than they do to buy.

 

It does look very shady indeed, and that PMG video is excellent.

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On 21/08/2021 at 08:19, metallicfrodo said:

I just straight out banned my son from playing it. He has more games available to him than he has the time to play across multiple consoles and to watch him playing the utter shit he was on Roblox just annoyed me beyond belief. He’d just be sat there at points with a book resting on a button while watching YouTube, just the waste of energy offended me. He moaned for a while but now the feeling among his mates seems to have changed on it and he now thinks it’s complete shite.

Yes! Holy shit, there are so many mechanics that reward the amount of time you're walking, or just sitting there, or something else. I'd enter the living room and find the Xbox on just idling while Roblox clocked up some crap thing or the other.

 

Silver lining... they're finally getting tired of the limited games. I think the peak of this was when I sat down to play with them using my laptop, and my son twinked me up a few levels (in a "game" where you do strong man workouts just pulling heavy objects for XP) by getting me inside a container of some sort, dragging me through the walls to levels I couldn't get to, and then had me hold on to 3 carrots while still in this thing, and him then dragging the whole lot across the line to give me massive XP. And then I had to go pickup a dumbbell and mash left mouse to spend that XP leveling up. 

 

I mean. What.

 

They're asking me to pay for the 2 person Minecraft realm again and I'm hoping, really hoping, this is us through the obsession with this game. About the only "good" mini game is some paintball team FPS, but even that is messed up in that everyone literally holds the fire weapon key constantly, angling their pellets in long arcs. No skill, you can be hit by random paint like bird shit. 

 

Need to get Unity installed, run through that Mag Pi FPS tutorial so they stop asking me to figure out Roblox dev.

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16 minutes ago, TehStu said:

Yes! Holy shit, there are so many mechanics that reward the amount of time you're walking, or just sitting there, or something else. I'd enter the living room and find the Xbox on just idling while Roblox clocked up some crap thing or the other.

 

Silver lining... they're finally getting tired of the limited games. I think the peak of this was when I sat down to play with them using my laptop, and my son twinked me up a few levels (in a "game" where you do strong man workouts just pulling heavy objects for XP) by getting me inside a container of some sort, dragging me through the walls to levels I couldn't get to, and then had me hold on to 3 carrots while still in this thing, and him then dragging the whole lot across the line to give me massive XP. And then I had to go pickup a dumbbell and mash left mouse to spend that XP leveling up. 

 

I mean. What.

 

They're asking me to pay for the 2 person Minecraft realm again and I'm hoping, really hoping, this is us through the obsession with this game. About the only "good" mini game is some paintball team FPS, but even that is messed up in that everyone literally holds the fire weapon key constantly, angling their pellets in long arcs. No skill, you can be hit by random paint like bird shit. 

 

Need to get Unity installed, run through that Mag Pi FPS tutorial so they stop asking me to figure out Roblox dev.

Every parent's experience is different but the same. Some rubbish, mechanically bereft nightmare of a thing that rewards nothing. I just don't get it. Although, my son spends most of his time playing a game called Arsenal which is actually a not too bad team based arena shooter. The rest though... Ye gads!

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The good here is that I've said they can spend their chore money on DLC or even games if they save it up, but the nature of Roblox and Robux, where you're basically spending money on specific games only, means they've never asked and understand it's a waste. They bounce off games so quickly that even they realize spending Robux would be a waste of time.

 

Instead, they're saving up for those custom colour Xbox pads. Much more useful. 

 

I'd say if your kiddo is desperate to play this game, you're probably better off enjoying it vicariously through streamers, some of which spend money on it.

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  • 3 months later...

Jesus fucking Christ PMG made a follow up, sobering as fuck.  Go capitalism!!  :(

 

 

 

 

TLDW: 

1.  Devs (children) get treated like utter shite.

2. They don't take good enough action against people who very definitely come across as peados. 

3. OMG THERES A FUCKING NFT STOCKMARKET IN THERE.  For children to buy ludicrous sponsored cosmetics. 

4. The economy of the game  is reliant on black markets that children end up participating in. 

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9 hours ago, robdood said:

3. OMG THERES A FUCKING NFT STOCKMARKET IN THERE.  For children to buy ludicrous sponsored cosmetics. 

I don't think they're actually NFTs, although Roblox have found their own way to create self-contained artificial scarcity with limited edition items, complete with price history graphs. You know, for the kids!

 

Before the first PMG video my view of Roblox was that it was a collection of utterly awful games that young kids were inexplicably crazy about, but that it was otherwise harmless. Now I know that it's a collection of utterly awful games run by an utterly awful company built on the principal of exploiting that audience of young kids in every way they can.

 

It's mindblowing that none of this stuff was highligted when the company went public, and surely a pretty damning indictment on capitalism when seemingly none of the investors were concerned enough by all this stuff to maybe, you know, take their money elsewhere. If nothing else it must surely be a pretty risky investment when some of their business practices are presumably legal only by way of technicalities.

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32 minutes ago, Hitcher said:

The answer is getting parents to stop their kids using it then.

How interesting,you participatge in society.jpg

 

don't bother regulating games via fixing predatory gambling loot boxes and stopping abusive practices - just stop playing them then they'll stop doing it!

 

It's easy!

 

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1 hour ago, Mogster said:

I don't think they're actually NFTs, although Roblox have found their own way to create self-contained artificial scarcity with limited edition items, complete with price history graphs. You know, for the kids!

I think the point is that for something to be an NFT it doesn't have to actually be a blockchain thing, you van have a "centralised" system as well. the thing everyone;s going nuts over is decentralised blockchain-based NFTs.

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The biggest problem with Roblox is its success, especially since Covid. It is insanely popular, probably the most played game on the planet by a certain age group now. It is bigger than the likes of Minecraft or Fortnite and can be played on anything.

 

My daughter (9) got into it last year when the Pandemic began as her school friends were all using it. We acquiesced as it kept them all talking. Nearly two years on she and her friends are all addicted to the game, even watching YouTube videos of it when not playing.

 

My wife has given her Robux to spend in the past, which she has promptly spent on "fashion accessories" but some games within Roblox seem to hand out freebies as well.

 

The likes of Tower of Hell, Adopt me and Brookhaven will be forever etched in my cursed memory.

 

Anyway, It looks and plays like shite proving that kids really don't care about the quality of something to enjoy it.

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3 hours ago, RFT said:

I think the point is that for something to be an NFT it doesn't have to actually be a blockchain thing, you van have a "centralised" system as well. the thing everyone;s going nuts over is decentralised blockchain-based NFTs.

We're getting into semantics, but I don't think that's right. An NFT (Non Fungible Token) is just that, a token linked to a digital item. The blockchain is an integral part of the "non-fungible" bit, and also nothing to do with the digital item bit. Also, the digital art or whatever linked with actual NFTs are otherwise completely fungible digital items.

 

These Roblox marketplace things are horrendous, but they're not NFTs.

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They're not literal NFTs perhaps, but they're very similar with their scarcity and graphs tracking price changes over time. So fucking gross that this exists. 

 

Hoping bigger news outlets see this story and get it in front of more eyeballs. 

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3 hours ago, Mogster said:

We're getting into semantics, but I don't think that's right. An NFT (Non Fungible Token) is just that, a token linked to a digital item. The blockchain is an integral part of the "non-fungible" bit

 

Technically, the blockchain isn't an integral part of some thing being non-fungible. All non-fungible means is that the unit isn't interchangeable.

 

You could have a database with one and only one item. as ever, there's no reason you  need a blockchain except you don't trust the centralised source of truth and instead prefer to trust all the bad actors instead.

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15 hours ago, robdood said:

TLDW: 

1.  Devs (children) get treated like utter shite.

2. They don't take good enough action against people who very definitely come across as peados. 

3. OMG THERES A FUCKING NFT STOCKMARKET IN THERE.  For children to buy ludicrous sponsored cosmetics. 

4. The economy of the game  is reliant on black markets that children end up participating in. 

 

I feel like I really need to state a couple more things. 

 

-1. Most Roblox players are between 9-15 years old. 

0. Roblox has an average of 40+M daily users. Daily.  Forty million

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6 hours ago, Clipper said:

How interesting,you participatge in society.jpg

 

don't bother regulating games via fixing predatory gambling loot boxes and stopping abusive practices - just stop playing them then they'll stop doing it!

 

It's easy!

 

why not both.gif

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7 hours ago, Clipper said:

How interesting,you participatge in society.jpg

 

don't bother regulating games via fixing predatory gambling loot boxes and stopping abusive practices - just stop playing them then they'll stop doing it!

 

It's easy!

 

 

Parents giving in to their children's peer pressure and giving them virtual currency to spend is much easier.

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it's also easy for people to criticise those parents and say "hey its easy just dont give them that shit"

 

The games industry is a hellhole in many ways and it just finds new ways to exploit its audience. I imagine that the heads of these companies are just daring each other to go "one worse" just to see if anything gets them in trouble.

 

HEy lets do DLC

Try .... snigger... Horse armour!

Ok i dare you to do virtual currency

How about gambling loot boxes - sorry surprise mechanics - where the most "desirable" stuff has a tiny drop rate

HEy can we put that in the most popular football game too to get maximum exploitation of kids!

How about we have a platform where kids produce the content and we rip them off at every turn.

 

Given the furore over NFTs that might be the straw that breaks the back but I wouldn't put it past them to dress them up another way.

 

The (relatively heavily regulated) gambling industry must look at the games industry and rue the fact that they can't exploit their customers as much as the games industry does to theirs. The parallels are scary and yet nothing gets done.

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