The Dark Side of Roblox: Child Exploitation and Sex Games by@strateh76

The Dark Side of Roblox: Child Exploitation and Sex Games

May 4th 2022 30,653 reads
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Despite Roblox having many alternative uses, today, its mainstay is games. In the previous article, I have discussed how Roblox works. Next, we will look at trendy games, sex games, and child exploitation. There are problems in the Roblox micro-industry that the platform's creators can't or won't deal with. This is despite the platform's overall concern for young audiences. One of the problems concerns making money on games. Roblox actively promotes the tempting idea that everyone can get rich in the game. The company's blog constantly publishes success stories of young developers, which attracts a lot of new users.
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Shariy Ivan | Content marketer & Copywriter

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Despite Roblox having many alternative uses, today, its mainstay is games. In the previous article, I have discussed how Roblox works. Next, we will look at trendy games, sex games, and child exploitation.


Most played games on Steam as of December 2021, by the average number of concurrent players

Most played games on Steam as of December 2021, by the average number of concurrent players


For example, first-person shooters on the Roblox platform are not particularly popular. There are quite a few of them here, but there are usually no more than 10 000 people playing such games. Clones generally attract relatively little attention in Roblox - the original projects are much more popular.


So, let`s look at popular games in the Roblox world.

Brookhaven RP

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The most popular game in Roblox is Brookhaven RP, which usually has a little over half a million people. That said, it has been visited about 14.5 billion times.

So, you find yourself in the town of Brookhaven. In contrast to the worlds of AAA games, there are no restrictions: all items, vehicles, and professions are available at the touch of a button. The occupations in the game range from a babysitter to an employee at an airport security checkpoint. The player also gets a house right away. There are no particular tasks in Brookhaven RP, so most of the players create a formidable madness, shooting right and left or just driving around the city.

Adopt Me!

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Adopt Me! is one of the most famous games on the Roblox platform. But now, it has lost its former popularity. Nevertheless, its performance is still impressive. Almost 150,000 people are playing Adopt Me! simultaneously, which is more than the average online GTA V on Steam.

The game is an advanced open-world Tamagotchi. You have to feed your pet, put it to bed and meet its other needs. At the same time, you have to decorate your house and find new clothes for your character.

Pet Simulator X

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Similar to Adopt Me! and another hit of Roblox is Pet Simulator X. Its online ranges from 170 000 to 250 000 players. Despite the number X in the title, this is only the fourth part of the "series" from the same developer. The simulator is very similar to the conditional Clicker Heroes, where you must endlessly click on monsters to earn coins and get reinforcement. Only you don't have to fight here.

In the beginning, each user gets one pet and goes with it to the field, where handfuls of diamonds or coins appear from time to time. By clicking on them, the ward goes into the attack, and the currency falls out of the object. For it, you can buy eggs, from which more and more pets are hatched. And so on until you get bored or until all the eggs are unlocked. There are 32 of them, and each subsequent fall out of the stronger animals.

Bee Swarm Simulator

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The popular game Bee Swarm Simulator works on approximately the same principle. Only the player, along with their bees, collect pollen and honey. For them, you can, for example, buy a giant backpack. Bee Swarm also has a quest system, which big bears give out.

Anime Fighters Simulator

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Anime Fighters Simulator is another variation on this theme. Instead of abstract bees or beasts, you have to collect Japanese animation characters. Their names are unfamiliar, but their appearance is easily recognizable, such as Dragonball characters. At the same time, Anime Fighters has a boost with different bonuses like increasing the limit of fighters. You can also find vehicles with which you can move a little faster. And play daily roulette. The game is much deeper than Pet Simulator X, although you can't direct your fighters at different opponents in Anime Fighters Simulator.

Blox Fruits

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Another famous Roblox game is Blox Fruits. It's almost a full-fledged MMORPG, clearly inspired by the manga and anime "Van Pees". It even includes the devil fruit, which gives you superpowers when you eat it. And the name of the game comes from the devil fruit.


At the beginning of the game, you need to choose a faction (pirates or sailors), and then you can get busy doing quests. Combat missions are boring because of not very easy controls and too silly opponents. But Blox Fruits has a great open world where more and more islands are gradually added.

Murder Mystery 2

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The peak of popularity of Murder Mystery 2 has passed, but now the online rarely falls below 90 000. It is a game in the spirit of SpyParty and Among Us. A group of users finds themselves in a mansion. And one of the players is an assassin who has to finish off all the others.


Except that in Murder Mystery 2, they often forget about role-playing and start just throwing knives at everyone left and right. So the game almost immediately turns into a kind of slasher.

Piggy

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Piggy is a horror game. It is a clone of Dead by Daylight, the title & aesthetics of which refer to the popular indie horror Granny. In Piggy, a group of survivors must get out of a building that a killer pig walks through. A killer pig is controlled by a living person too. And after death, you can watch what happens as a ghost, like in Among Us. Typically, Piggy is played by 40 000-60 000 people.

Tower of Hell

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A more original Tower of Hell enjoys approximately the same popularity. Here you need to get to the top of the tower in a limited amount of time. It requires precise acrobatic moves and does not forgive mistakes. After jumping past, you have to start from the beginning.

Iron Man

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There are more niche games in Roblox. For example, various superhero simulators are played by only 1000 people. On the Roblox platform, you can find, for example, a game about Iron Man (its sequel is currently in beta). It is available to choose from about 30 costumes, and the armor depends on whether the player will fly into outer space. The developers even provided freezing with a transition to a first-person view, just like the movie.

Child exploitation in Roblox

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There are problems in the Roblox micro-industry that the platform's creators can't or won't deal with. This is despite the platform's overall concern for young audiences.


One of the problems concerns making money on games. Roblox actively promotes the tempting idea that everyone can get rich in the game. The company's blog constantly publishes success stories of young developers, which attracts a lot of new users.


But the algorithms on the platform's main page are arranged in such a way that most players see only the most popular games. And here, Roblox offers help in promoting for Robux in the form of an auction. Only the highest bidder gets the advertising. That said, the result may not recoup the costs.


And even within the games, the kids sometimes have no control over their spending. It's gotten to the point that one U.S. parents association has asked platform developers not to incite kids to spend and compared Roblox itself to a casino. The daughter of one of the petitioners spent as much as $7,200 on purchases.


Some parasitize on the success of the original games: in Roblox, you can find dozens of fake "sequels" of famous games

Some parasitize on the success of the original games: in Roblox, you can find dozens of fake "sequels" of famous games


The platform creators have not yet solved another problem - the blatant exploitation of young developers by older users. In January 2022,The Guardian talked to a girl named Anna, who started making games in Roblox when she was 10. A few years later, her game attracted the attention of several people over 20 who were also making games.


They called Anna to participate in a larger project, and she started designing and programming without any contracts. They decided that she would get 10% of future profits during a Skype call.


Within a couple of months, the game became one of the most popular. Anna estimated that by the end of the year, she should make about $300,000 and even changed her mind about going to college. Meanwhile, the game had already brought the creators about $2 000 000. The elders decided to sign contracts with the young helpers. But instead of 10%, they offered only 6%, and Roblox could not help in any way.


“There is no HR to call. Roblox’s forums would have flagged any post I made about the situation as harassment. And, as I wanted to keep making games on Roblox, I was aware of the reputational risk associated with speaking out against people who were well regarded within the developer community.” - Anna


A similar situation happened to Canadian Regan Green, who discovered Roblox when he was six years old. At 12, he fell in love with Sonic Eclipse Online, based on Sega games, and spent hours working with its creator, Jadon Shedlecki, who was 24.


“It began to have a negative effect on my mental health. I was constantly trying to find ways to improve the project, but [Jadon] always wanted more out of me and I became incredibly burned out.” - Regan Green


Regan Green, like Anna, didn't contact the Roblox platform creators directly because he knew how futile it was.

Jaydon Shedletsky denied everything and later went public in another nasty story. He started chatting with a twelve-year-old playmate about Sonic, sending her information about future updates, but soon started making rape jokes. And this sort of thing is far from uncommon in Roblox.

Sex games in Roblox (condo games)

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In the summer of 2020, the business publication Fast Company published an investigationinto the Condo Games, the hidden pornographic games in Roblox. The Roblox platform prohibits foul language (it is recognized even in complex combinations of different alphabets) and sexual content. Still, some people create such games repeatedly. True, thanks to the moderation of Roblox, they live only a few hours.

In Condo Games, users can choose a body type (usually female, male, and a couple of other options are available) or immediately activate one of the dozens of sexual poses or sex toy animations. Moreover, they often do not depend on their physique. Also, in such games, as a rule, private areas are available for a couple of players, for which you sometimes have to pay Robux.


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Moderation algorithms and 2 000 employees constantly monitor content in Roblox: the platform's security system is considered an industry standard. But you can't get rid of Condo completely: their creators regularly cooperate and create servers in Discord. One of them, for example, has as many as 60 000 users.


The primary purpose of these communities is to find new Condo games. To facilitate it, they even create chatbots. Fast Company spoke to 17 users of such servers between the ages of 13 and 17. Fourteen proved to be community administrators. And 3 of them even confirmed their age with documents.


The atmosphere on these servers varies. Somewhere they try to maintain polite communication, forbid the exchange of adult content, and block access to users under 13 - the same age limit is set on Roblox itself. Somewhere, on the contrary, chaos reigns. Dialogues are full of racism and other types of hate, and administrators don't particularly monitor participants' behaviors.


The creators of some Condo games also do not strive to monitor user behavior. For example, the 15-year-old owner of a Condo game and a Discord server with 3,500 members admitted in a conversation with Fast Company that he begs girls for explicit photos and then sells them.


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Discord does not verify the age of users when they register, so it's effortless for such communities to hide from moderation. All they have to do is not allow violent or explicit content in their chats without a particular marker. Those who distribute it can be reported directly to Discord's developers, but this is not always true.

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