Roblox launches a medically prescribed video game for ADHD

A tablet with the Roblox login screen.

Photo: Leon Keith (PA)

The game best known for strange and torrid worlds created by users and young people spend funny money on apparel for their big blocky avatars now seeks to facilitate “therapeutic” play spaces connected to the platform.

According to a Thursday ReleaseRoblox, its own kind of mini metaversepartners with AkilI IInteractive, the creators of attention deficit disorder treatment EndeavorRxto, in the words of the executive, create new ways for patients to engage with healthcare through the Roblox platform.

EndeavorRx markets itself as FDA treatment for young people between 8 and 12 years old with ADHD. The game doctors can prescribe for kids rewards its players for navigating around obstacles and completing tasks in a series of fantasy worlds. Since it was approved for the treatment of ADHD in 2020, it can be prescribed by doctors.

This partnership effectively allows Akili to access its 55 million active userslast number provided by the company in February. Axios reported that EndeavorRx will connect to the Roblox platform to help unlock things like badges, pets, and other customization options seen in therapeutic play. Rewards are tied to how well players using the game for ADHD therapy use medication or complete other tasks assigned by the game.

Axios further stated that EndeavorRx is doing a big marketing push this fall, and this early partnership appears to be a big part of getting the word out. The connection will be tested this summer.

Akili CEO Eddie Martucci said in the statement, “Akili’s long-term vision is to integrate digital medicine into the daily lives of patients in ways never seen or experienced before.” He added that a partnership with Roblox would help “redefine the medical experience.”

Roblox, however, sees itself as a complete metaverse platform, which packs fashion, entertainment, sports, and now sanity onto its platform.

Although 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 it was “entering the metaverse” by creating an in-game island for children to play in. Many other companies like Kellogg’s, Nike and many others have created what is ads effectively for brands in a game mostly populated by very young people. Some advocacy groups have complained the game does not set limits on advertising on the platform and wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

Update for 5/26 at 4:25 p.m. ET: This article has been modified to change the status of Endeavor Rx from “FDA-cleared” to “FDA-clearned.

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