Roblox has been signaling that it wants to be more than a gaming platform for kids. Today, the company is making another push in that direction by letting its creators make experiences specifically for people who are 17 and older.
The new age category will allow for more graphic content and adult themes than Roblox has permitted to date, including depictions of heavy bloodshed and alcohol use, chief product officer Manuel Bronstein tells me. To keep underage users from accessing 17 and older experiences, Roblox will require that people scan their driver’s licenses and submit a selfie before they can access the new category.
Thirty-eight percent of Roblox’s daily users last year were over 17, and its fastest-growing user age group is 17-24. The majority of Roblox’s creators are now over 18, and the company thinks they are ready to build more mature worlds on the platform.
What age verification on Roblox looks like.Image: Roblox
“It’s a great opportunity for the developer community to tap into this demographic,” Bronstein says. “It creates both an audience opportunity, [and] it also probably creates a big monetization opportunity for creators, given that people older than 17 may have greater control over their disposable income.”
It’s clear that Roblox isn’t ready for fully adult experiences with this category. More sexualized themes are permitted, but nudity and content that “depicts sexual activity or seeks real-world romantic relationships” is not. And while more graphic violence is allowed, the platform’s new guidelines prohibit “extreme violence or serious physical or psychological abuse,” leaving some room for interpretation.
Roblox went public in 2021 and is under pressure to grow revenue, having announced a push into advertising last year. Bronstein says the company will eventually be able to show ads only to verified users over the age of 17, giving marketers more control over the kind of audience they’re reaching. “In many ways, we’re trying to resemble or mimic the real world where people of all ages can co-exist, connect, communicate, [and] hang out together in age-appropriate experiences,” Bronstein says.