ROBLOX starts checking the age of teenage players

The ROBLOX platform is introducing optional age verification to its users that combine identity verification and photo scanning. Although the system will not be necessary to play most platform games. But it's required for those who want early access to the platform's upcoming voice chat features when it rolls out later this fall. In addition, the company says that developers will be able to create new experiences based on identity verification in the future.

The verification system is an acknowledgment that many of the platform's primary users are not teenagers. The company said earlier this month, when introducing the new Spatial Voice feature, that 50 percent of its users are now over the age of 13. It is also experiencing the most sudden growth among the 17- to 24-year-old age group. Spatial Voice, which allows players to have real voice chats while in games, is initially available to a group of 5,000 developers, all 13 or older, who are able to test voice chat in a specially designed Roblox community space.

The company said that rolling out the feature to the platform's broader user base is continuing slowly, as it requires new moderation tools and security features to be built in parallel. And age verification is now one of those tools. Age verification comes in two stages. First, using the app, users of the platform scan their ID card, driver's license, passport, or any other government identification.

The company says it will not store raw identification document data. Instead, an anonymized value is generated, allowing the platform to verify identity without risking exposing the user's true identity.

Roblox verification is optional but may be required for some features. ROBLOX matches the data in the document with a library of thousands of global document types to determine if it is legitimate.

After scanning, the user takes a selfie for verification instead of uploading a selfie, something that can be automated to trick the system. The profile picture is matched to the person in the document. The platform says the process takes a few seconds after the photo is taken. The company notes that developers and creators are also able to use verification as a signal of trust when looking for collaborators as well.

Age verification is being rolled out gradually and will reach all users over the next few weeks. The subscription feature is available globally to anyone 13 years of age or older in more than 180 countries via computers and mobile devices.

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