Recently, new hats appeared in the Roblox catalog that wasn’t created by the ROBLOX account. Rather, an all-purpose admin account was the only account to upload hats, excluding a few extremely old ones that were never sold. This is the start of Roblox’s new User Generated Content, or UGC for short. Roblox is planning to have a 100% catalog in the near future, and with the release of a few hats from their top developers, that future will be here soon. While the only people to create hats so far are top developers, Roblox plans to let anyone create hats in the future.
For multiple reasons, Roblox has decided to only let top developers make hats at the moment. Because the process is very new and hats are much more complex to make than 2D shirts and pants that are simply images, requiring meshes and textures rather than a blank template you can draw over, only good developers who have experience in other fields of digital design could make complex models for these hats and the textures that give them color. Not only that but with anyone able to make hats so quickly without well-established guidelines, there’d be inappropriate hats everywhere.
While I enjoy the update and potential for new and interesting hats designed by users, there’s a lot of other things that I believe need to be fixed first. There are few items available for free in the catalog, just a few simple hats, hairs, and clothing items. On a platform that prides itself on creativity, giving few customization options for free players isn’t helping. While free items are given out occasionally, they’re usually meant to celebrate a certain event or sponsor. Recent examples that come to mind include a Stranger Things season 3 sponsor and Roblox’s 13th birthday, which both featured items that were meant to promote that one event. Usually, they don’t fit very well with other items and are oftentimes not very interesting. There’s also the rampant issue of bots in the catalog, accounts set up to post the exact same shirt over and over again for profit. Usually, the shirts are unoriginal and have simple names designed to exploit the system and show up once you search a vague. Finally, almost everything in the catalog is stolen content. The system to check for stolen content in the catalog is hilariously bad. This will most likely also be an issue for UGC, assuming that it’s possible to use the same parts as others to create a hat that’s “inspired” by someone else.
While I’m excited to see what hats can be created by users instead of the admins of Roblox, I believe there are some big issues that need to be addressed first before it can really take off. Creating bot accounts to profit off of hundreds of copies of hats simultaneously and managing the amount of stolen content in the already existing amount of player-created shirts and pants is already a big issue, and if it isn’t fixed or improved, new UGC items will most surely fall to the same fate as the shirts and pants sections.
You can see exactly three different shirts in total, and at the lowest cost pictured at 299 Robux, translated into real money at the best rate possible (11,000 Robux for 99.99 USD), these shirts are worth about $2.71. Different groups use the exact same stolen shirts and charge whatever they want, hoping you’re not smart enough to use the price sorting tool. You can set the maximum price you’re looking for to 5 robux, the lowest you can charge for a single shirt, and see… the exact same issues, but now you’re not spending anything upwards of close to 1000 extra Robux ($9.09 USD) for the same product. At a glance, you might not even be able to see the key difference of the costs being different.