As the Roblox community continues to grow, the Roblox Corporation has taken the decision to roll out an ID verification service to confirm users' ages. Currently operating on an opt-in basis, the developer says that its new service will not only signal a level of trust between users but also enable the platform to provide better methods for age-appropriate communication between creators.
As announced in an article on the Roblox blog, the developer says that age verification on the platform is important as it rolls out its new communication tool, spatial voice. The feature, which is currently being tested in a limited Developer Beta and is set to move into early access soon, will allow users to engage in voice chat within spatial voice experiences in Roblox, and aims to mirror real-life conversation, taking into account proximity, tone of voice, and more.
Despite the company offering its age verification service on an opt-in basis, only those who successfully complete the process will be eligible for spatial voice chat when it becomes available for Public Beta. It's not clear if the age verification service will become mandatory in future although, given that more than 50% of Roblox users are under 13, it feels unlikely.
For Roblox, this primarily comes down to safety. "As our community continues to expand, both globally and by age (nearly 50% of the users on our platform are over the age of 13 as of Q2 2021), we want to make sure that everyone can express themselves in a safe and respectful way," explains Senior Product Manager Chris Ashton Chen. "Being confident in a user’s age and identity is a critical foundation for metaverse safety and civility. We are developing new and innovative ways to do so while always respecting users’ privacy."
So, how does it work? Roblox's ID verification process comes in two stages. Using image processing technology, Roblox will first ask users to submit to an ID document check via its app. The documents themselves can take a number of forms with the platform accepting a user's passport, driver's license, or ID card as appropriate means for verification.
To complete the verification process, those taking part will then need to capture a selfie using the system. Roblox says that this stage of the service checks for "liveness" (whether or not the image it's seeing is of a living, breathing human being) and "likeness" (whether or not you are actually the same person shown in the documents uploaded).
The Roblox Corporation says that its verification process will roll out over the course of the next few weeks. For those worried about their data and privacy, the developer has also assured users that the platform will not store user's raw ID documents nor selfie data. Instead, when a government-issued ID document is scanned, an anonymized value is generated, allowing Roblox to verify identity without risking exposure of the user's real identity.
Roblox's ID verification process might seem strict, but it's similar to that used by many gambling sites and financial apps worldwide. However, with the platform home to many young gamers, it's a move that will hopefully help to increase safety platform-wide.
In a similar vein, IGN previously reported that Roblox had seen a number of incidents of mass shooting recreations arising on its platform. While the developer hasn't stated that similar incidents are a reason for the introduction of an age verification service and ID checks, incorporating such a system would likely help to improve users' accountability throughout the community.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.