Speaker Spotlight: Roblox’s Laura Higgins on Creating Safer Social Environments | Pocket Gamer.biz

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Europe’s leading B2B conference for the global mobile games industry, Pocket Gamer Connects London, starts in a few days and we couldn’t be more delighted to share with you the fantastic speakers who bring their knowledge and expertise to the table. February 14 and 15!

You can see the full list of speakers here for a complete overview of the talent that will be speaking in February. To give you a taste of what to expect, we’re highlighting some of the most anticipated speakers to showcase the incredible talent and leading companies who will be sharing their insights with us.

Roblox Director of Community Safety and Civility, Laura Higgins, will discuss the company’s goal of emphasizing Roblox developer resources and outreach to increase advocacy for civility and creation, as well as the work of building a safe and civil metaverse, and a future of more civil online interactions.

PocketGamer.biz: Why did you want to work in the video game industry?

Laura Higgins: Most of my career has been centered around keeping people safe online and making people aware of the risks and how to avoid them. Getting into the gaming industry was a natural progression for me. Young people have often been at the heart of my work and as they have migrated to different platforms and games, I needed to follow them there! I’ve always been a casual gamer myself, so I jumped at the chance to be part of the industry.

What advice would you give to those who would like to get started?

One of the things I love about our industry is the wide variety of roles available – there really is something for every skill. I would suggest getting as much training as possible in the area you want to work in. There are many online and in-person courses that can really benefit you and provide you with a broad level of knowledge about basic game design or player dynamics.

This industry moves quickly, so be prepared to move around a lot, and don’t worry – it’s normal, and people often end up returning to the same workplace multiple times. Do your best, engage and support your peers, and your good reputation will go with you. The people who work in the video game industry are really awesome!

How has the video game industry evolved since your beginnings?

The gaming industry is no longer just about playing games. It has evolved into something much bigger and more meaningful, now tightly tied to entertainment, social experience and community. The line between the digital and physical worlds has become increasingly blurred, and we’ve seen the growth of platforms, like Roblox, that are all about bringing people together.

What do you think of the industry over the past 12 months?

Over the past 12 months (and 12 before!), the pandemic has really highlighted the important role the online world plays in people’s lives, helping them to truly connect with friends and family when there were physical barriers to that. For many over the past year, online spaces have replaced physical spaces as a way to maintain strong social connections.

For this reason, games and social experience platforms like Roblox are often referred to as “digital hangouts”, replicating all the social experiences you can have in the physical world, whether playing a playing together, chatting with friends, or even attending a virtual concert or event. On Roblox alone, around 2.5 billion chat messages were sent and 17 million friendships were made in 2021. It’s been amazing to see how people have adapted during tough times to find ways to come together and experience joy in simple activities. I think gaming has been a lifeline for so many over the past couple of years.

What major trends do you foresee in the next 12 months?

As technology continues to evolve, the experiences people have online will be increasingly woven into their daily lives. Roblox’s mission is to enable billions of people to connect in meaningful ways in virtual spaces, enriching the way people live, connect and express themselves and we’re really excited about what’s to come. Roblox and the Metaverse – the potential is huge.

But we know that creating a metaverse like Roblox comes with huge responsibilities. Safety and civility cannot be built into an online world, they must be at the heart of everything we, and others in the industry, do from day one. Roblox’s vision for the metaverse is to create an immersive experience that allows people to come together productively and respectfully, and I expect we’ll see a growing awareness of the importance of civility in the metaverse over the next year.

What part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?

There are some really interesting sessions under the Mapping the Metaverse track, for example, topics like digital identity. We know this is a huge topic within our community: in 2021, one in five daily active users updated their avatar on any given day, and we’ve seen over 165 billion avatar updates in total. And there are other great discussions out there that I can’t wait to listen to. And, of course, I look forward to our conversation about creating a more civil metaverse, with our community.

Don’t miss the chance to meet Gracia Pozo and other industry leaders at Europe’s #1 B2B games industry conference on February 14-15. Be sure to secure your spot today!

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