Is Habbo Hotel Still a Thing?
What was once a pioneering social hangout spot for teens has long since fallen from the spotlight. It’s a sad state of affairs considering Habbo Hotel (now known as simply Habbo) was one of the first major social networks to launch, and the first site to spawn a subreddit dedicated to it.
What’s more, it’s one of the only major platforms that allows you to chat in real time. Unlike Twitter, where your thought bubble can vanish in the few moments you’re typing, on Habbo you only ever see the people who are likely to have seen what you said – making your experience of speaking into the void feel much more lonely.
It’s no surprise that the platform has a strict escalating sanction system. This ranges from simple warnings to temporary mutes and eventually permanent bans, as Sulake is committed to ensuring that its users are mature enough to use its service safely.
Even though it’s not quite as immersive as social media, Habbo is a place where you can still meet people and build relationships. Many people have met their spouses and children on Habbo, while others have reunited with old friends who may not have spoken to them for years.
There’s also a lot of room for role-playing on the platform, with user-designed rooms that can simulate anything from high schools to police departments and coffee shops. There’s also a huge range of jobs and ranks on offer, including the FBI and HIA.
While Habbo is free to play, it does use microtransactions for certain items. These items are highly desirable and give players a sense of status, which can help them connect with other players.
The most recent change to the in-game economy has thrown everything out of whack, causing a crash. The most expensive items have been taxed, the marketplace is now a central hub that hides sales statistics and withdrawing in-game money from your wallet is now taxed at 80 per cent.
Despite these changes, Habbo continues to be a viable option for young gamers. Its user base is relatively small, and many of the people that remain are old players coming back to reminisce about their youth.
But, it’s worth remembering that Habbo was once a hotbed of sexual abuse and bullying, and that it wasn’t all that unusual for its members to fall prey to these kinds of behaviours. In 2012, a Channel 4 investigation found that pedophiles were using the site to engage in sexual conversations with children. The following day, Sulake issued a site-wide mute on the site, which led to a huge outcry among the community.
Some of the most infamous crimes against Habbo came from children, who would be suckered into scams and hacks that would lead to them losing their accounts. While a few of these scams have since been cracked, the naive nature of the platform made it easy to slip up and take advantage of its young members.