Roblox goes down, forcing kids out for Halloween
This weekend, children across the country began to act strangely, as if they were coming out of a trance. They were walking around their houses. They started dating their parents. They have powered long-neglected electronic devices in search of entertainment. Some even – gasp! – went outside.
The culprit of their frightening behavior? Roblox, or the lack of it.
Roblox, the hugely popular gaming platform among kids, especially 9-12 year olds, went offline as of Thursday afternoon. Attempts to use the website only resulted in a message: “We make it even more awesome. Back soon. “
Sunday morning, Roblox’s official Twitter account wrote that the company had identified the “root cause and solution” and was working to restore the platform. Hours later, the company tweeted that it was “gradually bringing regions back online.”
The platform, a colorful, blocky online universe that is home to millions of unique games created by independent developers – some who are young adults or even teenagers themselves – attracts more than 43 million players every day. So social media quickly became filled with horrified children who couldn’t connect and frustrated parents demanding answers.
“My goddaughter playing outside with a soccer ball made me think the world is ending,” one person tweeted. “Turns out Roblox is down.”
A Roblox spokesperson referred to the company’s tweets but did not comment further. The company also dismissed a viral rumor that a Chipotle promotion that started shortly before the outage caused the platform to crash. Roblox tweeted Friday that “this outage was not related to any specific experience or partnership on the platform.”
Meanwhile, parents had to deal with stressed children. In Aliso Viejo, Calif., 9-year-old Harper Deal watches TV, scrolls through TikTok, and decorates his house for Halloween. She usually plays Roblox with her cousin who lives out of state.
“When Roblox shut down, I didn’t really talk to him much,” Harper said in an interview, before rushing to his room to check again to see if the platform was back online. “I do not know what to do.”
Harper’s mother, Aishia Deal, noticed that Harper was behaving strangely: “Yesterday she and her best friend had to go outside and play,” she said.
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Normally, Ms. Deal said, Harper comes home from school and immediately connects to the online universe with her friends, sometimes without even stopping to eat.
“That’s what they do, so they’re kinda confused,” she said. “I have never seen my daughter so much in a day.”
Megan Letter, a YouTube host and Roblox game developer, said she has received frantic tweets from children wondering if the platform will ever return.
“There is a bit of panic, but it’s normal with children,” she said. “Your whole life is Roblox; that’s all you know. You live, eat, breathe Roblox, so all of a sudden when it’s out of your routine it’s kinda stressful.
In Bethesda, Md., Garvey Mortley, 13, was also trying to find a way to spend his time.
“I didn’t really have any plans for Halloween before – my only plans were to play Roblox, so that stuff was ruined,” she said.
Garvey’s mother, Amber Coleman-Mortley, said she was using the blackout as an opportunity to explain to Garvey how business issues can affect their actions – Roblox went public in March – and the ripple effects that these problems can have on people.
“It’s the end of the month, people have to pay their bills, and if Roblox is their only source of income, that’s a problem,” Garvey said.
This was the case with Austin Enders, a 23-year-old from Indiana who relies on income from Roblox game development and two YouTube channels associated with the platform for a living. Mr Enders said he had saved enough money to avoid any disastrous event, but said the situation “still stank a bit”.
Ammon Runger, a 16-year-old developer, said that Halloween weekend was “absolutely the worst time that could have happened”, due to the many special Halloween-themed events the developers had planned for their. games. He said the developers estimated millions of dollars in revenue had been lost since the outage began.
Despite the presence of the Halloween festivities, kids looking for fun this weekend seemed more interested in finding something that could mimic the feeling of playing Roblox.
“It’s a little too late to go for a walk because I don’t have a suit,” Garvey said. “I guess I’ll just play other games like Animal Crossing.”