Virtual worlds

QF’s digital expert shares his thoughts on the future of virtual worlds

Roblox – a virtual game platform – has invaded the lives of children around the world especially since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world.

Roblox, a world of digital games that range from adventures to puzzles, among others, has provided them with a virtual life to face and even overcome the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. The article on the Qatar Foundation (QF) website states that although Roblox was launched in 2006, it has seen a huge increase in market value and global reach during the pandemic.
Ali Sikandar, Head of Digital Media at QF, said, “I can safely say that Roblox was created to prepare today’s 9-12 year olds for the Metaverse just to make adaptation smoother compared to to us who are, to some extent, late adapters. , and are still too loyal to conventional media channels, i.e. website, social media, news platforms.
“Roblox is for kids under 12 what Instagram and TikTok are for adults. It is an online platform and storefront where users play games made by other developers. In this world, anyone can create their own game and invite other players with a Roblox account to play the game. And with the help of Roblox Studio, eight million contributors – mostly children – created games on the platform and built it like a virtual Lego,” Sikandar explained.
The Metaverse is a 3D version of the Internet and computing in general. In the Metaverse, content creators can design and produce 3D objects such as houses, avatars, robots, factories, museums and then sell them using cryptocurrency to generate income in this virtual world.
Sikandar pointed out that while we could theoretically spend a lot of time in Roblox, socializing, buying things, and playing games, that doesn’t necessarily mean it encompasses the full reach of the metaverse.
Metaverse experiences are aimed at more sophisticated audiences. Therefore, bespoke Metaverse experiences are handled with greater delicacy compared to Roblox. However, the end result is the same – to provide mixed and extended reality community experiences by also allowing users to earn real money in these parallel universes.
Sikandar highlighted what the two virtual worlds offer their users. “Both platforms allow users to create their own new virtual selves. They can be who and what they want in the virtual world. It also gives users a truly immersive experience through gamification. Also, creating virtual worlds and digital goods for a living, leading to future collaborations with international brands and up-and-coming artists. And give the user the ability to teleport anywhere instantly,” he described.
Samah Shaqfeh, a fifth-grade student at Qatar Academy Sidra (QAS), a school under the pre-university education of the Qatar Foundation, explains that the platform offers an unlimited variety of games that meet every child’s interests.
“Players have the option to communicate with an unlimited number of other children, whether real friends or unknown online players. And children can also use the chat function to talk and get to know each other via the platform, which gives the opportunity to make new friendships,” she said.
Players can choose their own avatars to represent them during gameplay – they can choose what they want to look like, what to wear, and even what to do. “I can express myself by creating my own in-game avatar. And I think one of the most impressive things about the platform is the daily updates that constantly add something new to explore,” said added Manal Ali Sikandar, another fifth-grade student at QAS.