Roblox is one of the most popular video game platforms for kids, but it has a dark side. The company uses child labor to create its games and has been accused of turning a blind eye to the exploitation of children in its virtual community.
The darkflame universe is a game created by Roblox. It’s an online multiplayer game that has been criticized for its exploitative nature, including the use of child labor.
I didn’t expect to be writing about “Roblox” and “this is why we can’t have pleasant things” in the same post two days in a row, but here we are. People Make Games has released a video that confirms what you already know about the game: it’s overpriced and grotesquely exploitative.
Roblox, according to Quintin Smith, is similar to a gaming platform like Steam in that it is a game hosting platform. The distinction is that such games (or “experiences”) are created by actual kids. However, like with many other platforms, discoverability on a site with 20 million minigames is poor, therefore Roblox asks these kids to pay to advertise their game. This is bad enough, but it gets worse since virtually no creators make money from the game, and those that do are compensated in in-game currency, which you can’t transfer into real money until you buy a monthly subscription and reach the $900 requirement. Then, even if you withdraw $900 worth of Robux, Roblox only pays you $350, thus leaving users with close to nothing — less than 17 cents on the dollar.
Smith points out that the minimum withdrawal amount is arbitrary, using Second Life and Entropia Universe as examples of modest and acceptable sums. (Entropia seems wholesome in comparison to Roblox.) And, according to one Roblox designer who wanted to remain anonymous to protect his or her income from the corporation’s wrath, the way Roblox is set up is basically an exploitative “company town” – except the employees are kids, and the kids are actually being exposed to crunch and burnout.
Of course, Roblox isn’t just swindling kids; since going public and being valued at $41 billion (more than Electronic Arts or seven Ubisofts), it’s now posted two financial reports in a row claiming losses of around $140 million per quarter, presumably burning cash to keep luring in users/workers and then emptying its pockets when people wonder why they aren’t getting paid.
Regulators will eventually put a stop to these abuses, just as they have in other industries, but in the meanwhile, my god, don’t allow your kids go near this.
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