Saturday, August 24, 2019

"Roblox and the Wild West of teenage scammers"

Ana Diaz for Polygon:

This month, Roblox hit 100 million active users

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Unlike a storefront like Steam, a lot of content in Roblox is made by kids and young adults. In Roblox, the fun comes both from playing and making games. Making games can be lucrative, too, as popular games can be monetized by creators. And so fans learn how to market their creations, all in the hopes of finding an audience.

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This sort of Twitter developer drama is a staple of the Roblox community, which the playerbase has taken to calling “RTC.”

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Rez was 16 years old and bored when he bought Stateview Correctional Facilities, a prison simulation game on Roblox. For $17.50, Rez gained access to a community of 300 people. Two months later, Stateview Correctional Facilities had exploded to 100,000 players, and was making around $5,000 a week. That’s when everything came crashing down.

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Despite the accusations about pay, botting, and bigoted remarks, there may be a simpler reason why Rez got banned. Roblox may have kicked Rez off because of how Stateview used in-game purchases to make money off of accidental clicks.

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Rez may be exceptional in what he did, but this account underscores how common many of these “scam” tactics are on Roblox. Throughout reporting this story, we encountered allegations of other developers using denial of service attacks to threaten competing games, Roblox users deploying aliases to get around bans or blocks; as well as developers selling bogus game products to younger kids. It’s almost as if all these scams are just part of growing up on the internet now.
*Previously: "Romance scammers prey on Words With Friends players"