Australian Council on Children and the Media

ROBLOX - ROBLOX corporation

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Short takes

ROBLOX is a 3D building/gaming world. Caution: Animated violence, in-app purchasing, online interactivity and advertising

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No gambling content found in the levels played

This review of ROBLOX was completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 15 June 2016.

About the app

This section contains details about the app provided by an ACCM Reviewer.

Name of app: ROBLOX
Developed by: ROBLOX corporation
Platform reviewed: Apple App Store, Google Play, Facebook
Cost: Free
Developer’s suggested age: iTunes Store: 12+, Play Store: Parental Guidance, Mild Violence, Online Interactivity; Facebook: 13+.
ACCM suggested age: 16+ due to animated violence, in-app purchasing, online interactivity and advertising
Gambling content advice: No gambling content found in the levels played

ACCM review

This review of ROBLOX contains the following information:

The level to which the game was reviewed

This app was reviewed for approximately 1 hour.

App description

ROBLOX is an online multiplayer game. The objective is to build three-dimensional worlds on another website application – these are then hosted on the ROBLOX server, and made accessible for users to play via the mobile application. The skills required to play the app include motor skills to use the central functions, good reflexes and English language skills.

Reviewers comments

When the app is first opened, the player is shown a screen with the following options: Login (with a ROBLOX account), Sign Up or Play Now (as a guest). Upon entering the central portion of the app, players are immediately brought to the ‘Games’ section which displays a range of popular, top earning, top rated and recommended games. There is a drop-down search function at the top of the screen which allows users to sort the activities by genre – these include things such as Adventure, Building, Comedy, Fighting, FPS (First Person Shooter), Horror, Military, RPG, Town City, Western, etc. These are all three-dimesional games/worlds which have been created by users of ROBLOX Studios, an online web-based program.

Players are able to sign up for a ROBLOX account simply by entering a username, password, gender and date of birth. After this is done, they are able to access an app catalogue where players can purchase items within the game (e.g. an avatar for their profile or character upgrades). In order to do so, they must utilise ‘robux’ – the in-app currency. Players may obtain robux by making in-app purchases with real money. These can be bought in packages of 80 robux for $0.99, 400 for $4.99, 800 for $9.99, 2000 for $24.99, 4500 for $49.99, 10000 for $99.99, or 22500 for $199.99. Players are also able to sign up to various monthly subscriptions, where they can pay $5.99, $11.99 or $19.99 for various packages (including things such as ‘Receive 35 daily robux’ or ‘Receive 60 daily robux’). Lower rates are available for 6-month and year-long subscriptions.

The app also contains a ‘developer exchange’ feature, which enables users who possess more than $100,000 robux (and are over the age of 13 years) to exchange their in-game currency for real-life currency. Players who use the developer exchange can make between $250 ($100,000 robux) to $50,000 ($20,000,000 robux) in a month), according to the game’s Wiki page.

Users also have access to a Friends' section, where they are able to follow other users, be followed themselves, or to connect with friends – these enable individuals to keep up to date with the in-app activities of others they wish to view. There is also a ‘Messages’ section, where players can privately message other users. Furthermore, there is a live chat function within the game play activities – here, users are able to chat in real-time with one another.

Players additionally have a profile. On this page, there is an option to ‘Report Abuse’ – the app states that it is against the rules of the app to use coarse language, to ask other users to become a boyfriend/girlfriend, to ask other users ‘real life info about each other’ such as phone numbers or email addresses, to make ‘real life threats/suicide threats’, etc. The app states that players who do not follow such rules will receive a warning at first, but if the behaviour continues, they may be asked to leave ROBLOX.

The central portion of the app itself is founded on the creation of games by the users of the app. If players join the Builders' team, they are offered a free platform to create 3D games which are then hosted via the ROBOX cloud. Users are able to create/build their worlds online via the developer’s website, but can access the myriad of worlds produced by other users on their phone devices. When a player clicks on one of the games, they are offered a brief description by the creator, information on the number of visits, when the game was created and last updated, leaderboard information as well as an option to purchase in-game bonuses that will assist with gameplay within that particular app (e.g. small ‘passes’ that allow for an increased chance of players reaping positive rewards within the game). Within many of these games, violent content appears to be presented – the goal of many activities is to kill other players. Users are able to buy weapons for their characters, including things such as knives or missile launchers. However, the activities and 3D worlds do not function particularly well – it has been stated that many of the virtual worlds have not been adapted to be played on mobile devices, resulting in controls that do not suit mobile mediums. The games generally involve moving a player’s character through a three-dimensional world with two directional pads on either side of the device screen.

Although designed for users aged between 8-18 years of age, the ability to spend real-life currency (and even exchange in-game currency for real-life money) appears to pose a risk to younger players. The online chat features, although possessing reporting capabilities, appear unmoderated and may pose a risk to children who are exposed to inappropriate content before misbehaving users are banned.

In App purchasing

Yes: Players may obtain robux by making in-app purchases with real money. These can be bought in packages of 80 robux for $0.99, 400 for $4.99, 800 for $9.99, 2000 for $24.99, 4500 for $49.99, 10000 for $99.99, or 22500 for $199.99. Players are also able to sign up to various monthly subscriptions, where they can pay $5.99, $11.99 or $19.99 for various packages (including things such as ‘Receive 35 daily robux’ or ‘Receive 60 daily robux’). Lower rates are available for 6-month and year-long subscriptions.

The app also contains a ‘developer exchange’ feature, which enables users who possess more than $100,000 robux (and are over the age of 13 years) to exchange their in-game currency for real-life currency. Players who use the developer exchange can make between $250 ($100,000 robux) to $50,000 ($20,000,000 robux) in a month), according to the game’s Wiki page.

Online information

Users have access to a Friends' section, where they are able to follow other users, be followed themselves, or to connect with friends – these enable individuals to keep up to date with the in-app activities of others they wish to view. There is also a ‘Messages’ section, where players can privately message other users. Furthermore, there is a live chat function within the game play activities – here, users are able to chat in real-time with one another.

Players additionally have a profile. On this page, there is an option to ‘Report Abuse’ – the app states that it is against the rules of the app to use coarse language, to ask other users to become a boyfriend/girlfriend, to ask other users ‘real life info about each other’ such as phone numbers or email addresses, to make ‘real life threats/suicide threats’, etc. The app states that players who do not follow such rules will receive a warning at first, but if the behaviour continues, they may be asked to leave ROBLOX.

Gambling

No gambling content was found during this review.

Advertising and product placement

None present within the scope of this review – however, Google Play references that ROBLOX is an ad-supported app.

Game playing behaviour which may be of concern to some parents

The central portion of the app itself is founded on the creation of games by the users of the app. Within many of these games, violent content appears to be presented – the goal of many activities is to kill other players. Users are able to buy weapons for their characters, including things such as knives or missile launchers.

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Content is age appropriate for children this age

Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended

Content is not age appropriate for children this age

Gambling content advice

Simulated casino style gambling. Not suitable for minors

Contains some elements of gambling. Some content is not recommended for minors. Parental guidance recommended

No gambling content found in the levels played

About games and gambling

Most games contain elements of risk, chance and knowledge, that is why they are fun to play. There is growing concern about the impacts of simulated gambling games on the health and wellbeing of children. That's why we are identifying games that contain gambling elements on our site.

The State Government of South Australia's web site http://nogame.com.au/ contains information about these concerns.