‘Roblox’ contains a real money stock market aimed at children

Players can make more money using "black market" sites

An investigative video by People Make Games has uncovered the dark side of collectable trading in Roblox.

Roblox is a platform where users can create and share content. Often this content is sold for an in-game currency that can later be transferred to real-world money. The platform also contains an item store where players, mainly children, can buy and sell items that are only available for a limited time. Some users try to make as much money as possible by taking their trading to black market sites. People Make Games’ video looks into this almost lawless side of Roblox, which is mostly ignored by Roblox Corporation as it doesn’t happen on their platform.

However, one aspect that is entirely under the control of Roblox developers is its item store. Roblox releases several collectable items in cross-promotions with brands such as Gucci that are sold for a reasonably low price. However, these items are limited, and once they are removed from the store, they become unique collectables that can fluctuate wildly in price, sometimes as high as thousands of dollars.

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To help inform users of the value of their items, Roblox includes a graph of an item’s value history. As People Make Games notes, this is very similar to stock trading, where people are encouraged to buy an item when it is available and cheap, then gamble on the chances of the price increasing as it because rarer and more sought after.

People Make Games sent a list of questions asking, “With regards to the collectable store, does Roblox consider it responsible to market items costing tens of thousands of dollars to children?” and “Does Roblox consider it responsible to display statistics such as a price chart and ‘Original Price’ for collectables, implying that children can make money buying such items?” Roblox did not answer these questions.

Roblox itself takes a 30 per cent cut of all transactions on its store, meaning that big-ticket items being sold between players can earn Roblox far more than it was initially selling the item for. Some players choose to maximise their profits even further. To do this, they take their trading outside of Roblox’s economy and sell directly to other users on third party websites.

The video also delves into how Roblox profits from young developers who are often working with and for other Roblox developers in unmoderated Discord channels with no oversight from the game’s creators. People Make Games says this can lead to exploitation and harassment.

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In other news, an Activision Blizzard Executive has sent a letter to employees warning of the consequences of unionising.

 

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