Developers making content for Roblox will now be able to make material that’s geared toward adults.
The popular gaming platform unveiled a new category of content that’s limited to users ages 17 and up. Such games and experiences will be allowed to include “crude humor,” more graphic violence, and “romantic themes and topics.” It’s a natural next step for the platform, says Manuel Bronstein, Roblox’s chief product officer, as users 17 to 24 now constitute 38% of daily active users and the fastest growing population segment on the platform.
“You can think about horror or action games that become a little more photorealistic,” says Bronstein. “You could imagine that a game gets a little more realistic because in the city, they’re adding a casino or they’re adding a bar that you walk through and there’s some experience there.”
Users 17 and up will need to verify their ages to Roblox by uploading an image of an ID and a matching selfie before they can access the new content, Bronstein says. (The ID image won’t be stored by Roblox after verification, he says.) While some users do share devices, including within families, Bronstein says they usually have separate accounts since they each want to connect with their own friends on the platform, making it less likely that underage users will sneak on to older relatives’ accounts.
The new, more mature category will still have some restrictions. Nudity and sexual content aren’t allowed, for instance, nor are depictions of animal abuse, “extreme violence,” tobacco, or “regulated drugs” besides alcohol. Crude humor involving burping and pooping is okay, but “real world depictions of these bodily functions” are off-limits. And while game characters may be able to walk through a casino setting, they still won’t be allowed to do any actual gambling with the platform’s Robux currency or any other means.
Roblox, which began as an educational game for kids, has since grown into a major metaverse platform that’s been used to host concerts by acts like Lizzo and Elton John and as virtual outposts of brands from Gucci to Walmart. Last year, the platform introduced age controls which designated games on the platform as suitable for all ages, for ages 9 and above, or ages 13 and above, with parents able to limit kids’ access to the more mature categories of content.
Frontlines, a first-person shooter playable on Roblox and rated for ages 13 and up, has an audience that’s at least 90% adults 18 and up.[Photo: Roblox]
The platform has been the focus of some reports in the past of inappropriate content, harassment, and bullying, and the company emphasizes that users can report any inappropriate content or behavior or block users they don’t want to interact with.
Bronstein says Roblox envisions the platform as being something like a sports stadium, where there are activities available for people of all ages, as well as age-restricted options for adults, like bars. He’s hopeful the new age category will give adult developers the ability to create new content, including building more types of material that their own friends might want to see.
“We’re sure that the community’s going to create something that we’re not even thinking about,” he says.
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