The game most known for strange and raunchy user-made worlds and young people spending funny money on apparel for their big blocky avatars is now looking to facilitate “therapeutic” play spaces connected to the platform.
According to a Thursday release, Roblox, its own kind of mini-metaverse, is partnering with Akili Interactive, the creators of attention deficit disorder treatment EndeavorRx, to—in executive’s words—create new ways for patients to engage in health through the Roblox platform.
EndeavorRx markets itself as an FDA-cleared treatment for young people between 8 and 12 years with ADHD. The game that doctors can prescribe to children rewards its players for navigating around obstacles and finishing tasks in a series of fantasy worlds. Since it was approved for ADHD treatment in 2020, it has been eligible to be prescribed by doctors.
This partnership effectively grants Akili access to its 55 million active users, as of the latest number the company provided back in February. Axios reported that EndeavorRx will connect to the Roblox platform to help unlock items like badges, pets and other customization options seen in the therapeutic game. The rewards are connected to how players using the game for ADHD therapy use medicine or finish other tasks assigned by the game.
Axios further said that EndeavorRx is making a big marketing push this fall, and this early partnership seems to be a big part of getting the word out. The connection will be tested out this coming summer.
Akili CEO Eddie Martucci said in the release “Akili’s long-term vision aims to integrate digital medicine into patients’ daily lives in ways never before seen or experienced.” He further added that a partnership with Roblox would help “redefine the experience of medicine.”
Roblox, however, sees itself as a full on metaverse platform, one that contains fashion, entertainment, sports, and now mental health on its platform.
Though this new partnership seems rather benign, Roblox has already become a platform for other services like Spotify to advertise, especially with its majority population of very young players. The music streaming platform claimed that it was “entering the metaverse” by creating an island within the game for kids to play around in. Many other companies like Kellogg’s, Nike and many more have been creating what are effectively ads for brands within a game mostly populated by the very young. Some advocacy groups have complained the game does not set limits for advertising on the platform, and want the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.
Update 5/26 4:25 p.m. ET: This article was amended to correct the status of Endeavor Rx from “FDA-approved” to “FDA-cleared.”