The Beamer Boom
My cousin and close friend seemed to be rather comfortable, always buying the latest PS4 games, always buying a lot of food and always going out to watch the latest marvel movies.
Despite all this expenditure I was well aware that my cousin did not have a ‘job’ and so was very surprised to learn that his parents did not give him any pocket money. As it turned out my cousin’s main income was from a game called Roblox, he had built a game in Roblox and charged users for limited items within this game. So what is Roblox? And how is he making money from it? If you don’t know what Roblox is, check out our trend debrief ‘What is Roblox and why should we care?’
According to Influencer Marketing Hub as of August 2021, Roblox has 115 million active users worldwide and that number is rising. It has surpassed Minecraft’s 100,000 users in 2019 and has had six games reach one billion visits. Extremely popular with Gen Z and having generated £144.5 million in its Series G (7th round of funding) funding according to Education Investor, you cannot deny the significant hold that Roblox has on younger generations. But what exactly is Roblox? Is it a game? Is it a social media platform? Is it a game making platform?
The answer is Yes, all of the above. Similar to YouTube, an online video sharing platform that provides no content, Instagram a photo and video sharing app that creates no pictures, and Uber a mobility service company that owns no vehicles.Roblox is a game that provides no games but allows users to create games. They all have the same graphics, they all have the same look, but actual gameplay can vary drastically. From racing to role playing, to shooting games Roblox has it all! There are a whole array of different games. You can get the Roblox app on your phone, computer, console or tablet. Once downloaded you will then select which game you want to play thus entering a user created world. In addition to this there is a social aspect where friends can be added to chat.
Roblox has its own in game currency that players can use to purchase exclusive items such as limited-edition skins. This is a way for game creators to earn money while also generating income for Roblox. The virtual currency called Robux is attained with real cash and then after you can spend Robux in any selected game. Game creators then exchange Robux back for real money. However, you must meet a criterion in order to exchange Robux for real money. Firstly, you must be at least 13 or older, secondly you must be a member of the ‘Outrageous Builders Club tier’ and finally you must have a minimum of 100,000 Robux in your account. This translates roughly to £950 according to a Robux money converter on linktree.
However, in the words of the Notorious B.I.G, ‘More money, More Problems’. As there is opportunity for money to be made there is an opportunity for money to be stolen. Players of Roblox have been victims of something called beaming. This is where a player will have their limited-edition items stolen from their account. These ‘beamers’ are able to make money from stolen limited-edition items through dedicated marketplaces that specialise in underground transactions.
There seems to be a growing market where beamers can earn up to tens of thousands worth of dollars in minutes with the victims mostly being children. A popular method that beamers use is to register a phishing domain name. Web addresses such as röblox.com, www--roblox.com, site-roblox.com, and www-roblzx.com. A victim will often go on these domains and reveal personal information about their account, shortly after a beamer will gain control of their account and send themselves the victims limited items.Another method is to sim swap, beamers will fool mobile networks into redirecting text onto the beamers device. This bypasses Roblox’s two factor authentication and allows the codes to be sent to the beamer.
One final method beamers use to scam are through generators, they usually offer a fake free in-game tool currency with users expecting free Robux but instead are met with malware or direction to a phishing site.
Roblox does try and support victims by offering a ‘rollback’ ability, this means that if a hacker has stolen an item they can report this and have their iten back. However, this feature only allows one rollback per account in order to prevent an abuse of this feature. Typically a beamer will steal multiple items and so this feature isn’t actually very useful.
Roblox has some safety measures on their website such as;
- Never share your password or cookies
- Enable 2 step Verification
- Always Log out of your account when you’re done playing
- Make your password unique
- Never Add Someone Else’s Email Address on Your Account
- Learn to Recognise Scam and Phishing Sites
- Don’t get tricked by in-experience forms
- Get Parent Permission before downloading programs
Although Roblox has implemented a Reporting System that allows you to report inappropriate chat messages or content, it seems that Roblox has a very long way to go in order to keep its users safe from beamers. It seems to be on the rise and there are even Youtube accounts and Discord channels where beaming is encouraged. This does not seem to pose a serious threat, Roblox only seems to be gaining more popularity with youth however this could be a problem in the future if nothing is done. Beaming is on the rise and people seem to get a kick out of watching people get beamed. If nothing serious is done this may be a problem for children.