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Roblox is introducing age verification for users, starting with those who want to try out spatial voice features on its user-generated content platform.
As the company’s community continues to expand, both globally and by age (nearly 50% of the users on the platform are over the age of 13 as of the second quarter), Roblox wants to make sure that everyone can express themselves in a safe and respectful way.
One of the ways the company is doing this on the Roblox platform is through a new opt-in age verification service for users. This new service is an important structural element of the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. And since Roblox wants to be the metaverse company, it views age verification as a key component within the larger social and safety systems.
Roblox wants to provide age-appropriate communication. Spatial voice, which is currently in a limited Developer Beta, will become available to users who verify that they are at least 13 years of age later this fall. (We’ll be talking about ways for games to grow at our GamesBeat Summit Next event on November 9-10, and Roblox CTO Dan Sturman will be a speaker there).
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To ensure players are eligible to use spatial voice when it becomes available for public beta, players will have to verify their ages here and they will be notified as soon as spatial voice is available.
Age verification is gradually rolling out to all users, so it may take some time before everyone sees the option appear in their accounts, said Chris Aston Chen, senior product manager for authentication at Roblox, in a blog post.
New workflows and features for developers and creators will become available to those who verify their ages. In addition to delivering age-appropriate experiences, developers and creators can rely on identity verification as a signal of trust when looking for collaborators on the Roblox platform. A verified status lets the community know that a developer or creator is who they say they are.
How it works
Age verification comes in two stages. First, it does an identification document check, and then a selfie match. On the Roblox app, users start by scanning their ID card, driver’s license, or passport. Roblox parses the data on the document and matches it to a library of thousands of global document types to ensure that it’s legitimate.
From there, the user is asked to capture a selfie on the spot to check for “liveness” and “likeness.” Liveness ensures that the person is a living, breathing individual taking the selfie (rather than just a static image of a person), and likeness ensures that the person in the selfie is the same person as the face on the ID document. The entire process is automated and usually takes seconds to get a result after images are captured.
“We want you to know that we take our community’s safety and privacy seriously, and Roblox does not store raw ID document data,” the company said. “When a government-issued ID is scanned for verification, an anonymized value is generated, allowing Roblox to safely verify identity without risking exposure of the user’s real identity.”
The Age Verification service is gradually rolling out to users starting today and will continue over the course of a few weeks. It will be available globally in over 180 countries on both mobile and desktop for anyone 13 years of age or older. Roblox said that passports are accepted in addition to government-issued IDs, which include residence cards, Green cards, and driver’s licenses.
“Age verification marks a big milestone in our long-term vision of building a trusted, fun, and civil platform for everyone,” the company said. “Over time, we’ll continue to introduce new and innovative ways for users to easily and securely maintain and protect their identity on the platform, unlock new and immersive social capabilities, and build and enjoy amazing experiences together.”
Roblox said that spatial voice is the first voice feature that has been offered by Roblox and right now it’s in a developer beta, and can only be tested inside the Roblox Community Space, which is a testing lab of sorts on the Roblox platform.
Developers who are in the beta will soon be able to turn on spatial oivce in their experiences, but it is still only available to developers. General users on the Roblox platform who would like early access to spatial voice when it becomes available to users later this fall, will be first in line if they are age verified.
Roblox also launched a Talent Hub earlier this summer, which is a way for users to look for job opportunities that exist within the Roblox developer community and a way for developers to post jobs as they seek talent for their projects. The Talent Hub is adding an indicator on a user’s profile if the person is age-verified as another way of identifying trusted, known developers within the community.
As for privacy, Roblox said it does not retain any data when verifying a user’s age.R oblox only relies on an anonymized value that is generated from the document data that cannot be tied to the user’s actual identity.
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