Roblox is a place where you play games, right? It ticks all the boxes, it’s obvious, we all know it is. So why, I wonder, has one of the world’s most popular, uh, entertainment service platforms suddenly stopped using the word “game”?
As The Verge reports, last week Roblox scrubbed almost all mentions of the word “game” from its descriptors, whether they be internal tabs (“games” now says “discover” in Roblox itself) or summaries of the game on the App Store and Google Play Store (where every mention of “game” has been replaced with “experience”).
A Roblox spokesperson has an explanation handy, which reads:
The term ‘experiences’ is consistent with how we’ve evolved our terminology to reflect our realization of the metaverse. Roblox is an online community where people do things together in virtual worlds, and over the years, we began referring to these worlds as experiences, as they better represent the wide range of 3D immersive places – from lobbys to virtual concerts – that people can enjoy together with their friends.
Which, OK, whatever, but the timing of the move is certainly interesting given it’s coming in the middle of the Apple v Epic court battle, where a big part of Epic’s case is an attempt to prove that Fortnite is more than just a game. By being classified as a game it has been subject to App Store restrictions like Epic not being allowed to operate its own in-game store.
So Roblox—which despite some Apple reservations is allowed to operate its own in-game store, as it’s categorised as an “app” and not a “game”—quietly removing all mentions of the word “game” at exactly this moment, when we’d all notice the timing, is if nothing else very funny in a, “My ‘Roblox is not a game’ t-shirt has people asking a lot of questions already answered by my shirt” kinda way.