Updated: Apr 1, 2019
Roblox is one of the most popular entertainment platforms for players under the age of 18, with 1 Billion hours of Roblox being played each month by over 80 Million Roblox players.
Roblox's mission is to bring the world together through play.
"We enable anyone to imagine, create, and have fun with friends as they explore millions of immersive 3D experiences, all built by a global community of developers."
It was through my 10 year old son that I was introduced to Roblox. Initially, being an old school gamer on many devices and platforms way back to the days of when the Commodore 64 was cool, I thought the games he was playing were a bit "kiddy". The truth is they are "kiddy" and a lot of kids are playing them. My son favors simulators, and will happily sit for hours clicking on the screen to grow into a giant baby! For the uninitiated the game is "Baby Simulator". I jokingly said to him "How about I write a game where the object of the game is to do nothing?" His response was quite quick with "Yeah, that sounds like Stare At The Wall. I did it for 15min, but nothing happened". Hilarious!
I went on to ask him "So how come you like simulators so much?" His response was "So I can get hats and pets". These rewards are the golden carrot dangled in front of the players. To have a particular hat, or pet, or whatever accessory that is offered by the game of choice is the ultimate goal. It is a little badge of honor to proudly show amongst friends and show the world you earned it. Educators of the world may dismiss this activity as a frivolous waste of time, however the "persistent grinding" at a task for hours, weeks, or even months shows great determination and an intrinsic motivation un-surpassed by day to day activities!
The total immersion in a gaming world, surrounded by your peers, either "working" independently or in teams to attain a goal, all the while socializing though chat, or other gaming communications such as discord all build a very attractive environment for kids to participate in.
Now , being a long term gamer I realize that at the beginning it is fun, engaging, and gives you a reason to live! .... however at some point all gamers hit "the wall" when grinding for a reward. By this I mean, it's now a little less fun, not as engaging, a bit boring, and now feels more like a job! In the days of old we just had to suck it up and carry on until we got our reward, or found all the secrets, or whatever the goal was. In Roblox, and many "free to play" games there is a way to go around, or over "the wall", and that is to spend money!
Players can buy in game currency called Robux, and it can be spent on just about anything in the Roblox world, including bonuses that let you get to your goal a bit quicker, or buy an exclusive item. When you think about it, as an adult, if you were made the legitimate offer "Hey, if you give me $100, I'll let you pay off your house in half the time!", then most of us would jump at the chance. The same thinking applies to getting the reward, or getting past a hard level in these games. Kids will willingly spend real money to buy in game currency so they can get to their goals quicker. Of course their primary source of income is usually mum or dad, so how much they can spend is limited to their parents willingness to part with their money.
"There are currently over 4 million active developers and creators producing their own games using Roblox Studio. As of March 2019, 98 million dollars has been paid to these community developers."
This quote is an awesome testament to the success of the Roblox platform. These developers are people who have learned the skills required to create great games that players want to spend money on. These developers were once (or still are!) kids who developed a love of gaming, formed large social networks, and went on to take the extra step to improve themselves and produce new and better games.
Encourage your child to be a "kid" and play games while they are still a kid. Most kids move on to new platforms, or no longer play games, but who knows, they might just be the next "best game developer" the world has known!