Roblox is a massive app — as of September 2023, Roblox says it has more than 65 million daily active users — and it’s becoming an increasingly interesting platform to watch amid growing competition from social and metaverse platforms like Epic Games’ Fortnite and Meta’s Horizon Worlds.
While Roblox has traditionally been associated as a platform for kids, the company has done a lot of work as of late to make it more appealing to older audiences. The platform now allows developers to make experiences that are exclusively accessible to users that are 17 and over, for example, and is introducing its own spin on video chat. It even has ambitions to be a place where adults can meet and date.
The company is also investing heavily into generative AI tools to help creators make experiences more easily, including a new Roblox Assistant AI chatbot.
Here’s all of our coverage of Roblox.
- The CEO of Bumble says that the metaverse is “kind of contrary to everything I believe in in terms of getting humans to look each other in the eye.”
Roblox CEO David Baszucki thinks people will be dating in Roblox, but at Code 2023, Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd doesn’t sound like a fan of that idea. “Maybe that is how people will originally connect,” she said, but noted that “I will be much more sad for humanity than myself if people just stop really meeting in real life.”
- I asked David Baszucki about the potential of interoperability between different virtual worlds platforms.
The short answer seems to be no. But in his response, he talked a lot about file formats and how they might differ for things like a pair of virtual shoes and wheels that fall off a virtual car. That might make any interchangeability would be a tricky problem to solve; companies like Roblox, Meta, and Epic Games would have to agree on file formats that could sync across systems. My sense is they might be reticent to do that right now.
- Roblox hasn’t given up on China.
The company shut down the Chinese version of its app that was operated by Tencent in early 2022, but Roblox co-founder and CEO David Baszucki says that the company is still working on something for the Chinese market.
The idea would be that Roblox can “literally print a copy of Roblox in China and bring it to market there” and that Roblox would have less and less data going back and forth between the US and China.
Roblox is now rolling out the ability for developers to create subscriptions that they can sell in their experiences, according to a forum post. The company announced in July that it was working on these tools, saying that they could help developers “establish a recurring economic relationship with their users and potentially increase the predictability of their earning,” and now developers can actually start to plan out their offerings.Read Article >
Roblox users won’t be able to buy subscriptions just yet, however; that won’t be possible until sometime in November, according to the post. When they can, users will pay for subscriptions in their local currency, but the money will make its way to developers as Robux, Roblox’s on-platform currency.
Roblox will finally be available on PlayStation soon. At its 2023 Roblox Developers Conference (RDC) on Friday, Roblox announced that its popular social and gaming app is coming to PS4 and PS5 in October. And during Sony’s September 14th State of Play, the company announced that the game would be released on October 10th.Read Article >
Roblox, which is free to download, is already out on a bunch of platforms, including PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Xbox, but the lack of support for Sony’s consoles has felt like a notable hole in Roblox’s lineup. There have been some clues that a PlayStation version has been in the works, though: a 2022 job listing indicated that Roblox was hiring for a PlayStation engineer, and CEO David Baszucki hinted on an August earnings call that the company has been looking at bringing the app to PlayStation and Nintendo Switch.
Roblox is launching its own take on video chat called Roblox Connect, the company announced at its Roblox Developers Conference (RDC) 2023 on Friday. The feature, which is set to launch later this year, lets you chat with other people as your Roblox avatar, and your avatar will be able to mimic your real-life facial movements. The call will also take place in a shared virtual space that you can run around in, like a campsite or a dock.Read Article >
Roblox is already designed to be a social app where you can use text and voice chat to keep in touch while exploring virtual experiences with your friends, so it’s not too much of a stretch for the company to make a video-focused feature that’s also designed as a place to hang out and talk. It’s also an easy way for Roblox to show off its recently launched facial animations. (I have to imagine Roblox Connect will be Roblox’s preferred way to do interviews at its in-Roblox career center, especially when paired with Roblox’s plan to introduce support for real names.)
Roblox announced a new conversational AI assistant at its 2023 Roblox Developers Conference (RDC) that can help creators more easily make experiences for the popular social app. The new tool, the Roblox Assistant, builds on previously announced features that let creators build virtual assets and write code with the help of generative AI.Read Article >
With the Roblox Assistant, creators will be able to type in prompts to do things like generate virtual environments. In one demo, somebody types in “I want to make a game set in ancient ruins,” and Roblox drops in some stones, moss-covered columns, and broken architecture. “Make the player spawn by a campfire in the ruins” adds a campfire and a stool. “Add some trees for the player to chop down” adds trees nearby. Roblox will grab assets from either its marketplace or your own visual asset library, according to Roblox spokesperson Roman Skuratovskiy.
Roblox is going to let creators that sell assets and tools for other creators on its marketplace keep all of the revenue from their sales minus taxes and payment processing fees, the company announced at its Roblox Developers Conference (RDC) 2023 on Friday. The change goes into effect starting sometime next year.Read Article >
This will be a big change — though it will only apply to sales on the Creator Marketplace, which is for creators to sell to creators, and not to sales on the Marketplace (formerly Avatar Shop) where people can sell avatar-related goods.
Roblox will let users sell “full avatar bodies and standalone heads” that they create by Thursday, Roblox said in a post on its developer forums (via VentureBeat). The new line of creator-made virtual goods (something Roblox calls user-generated content, or UGC) could help more people build businesses on Roblox, which might keep them from making things for competing metaverse platforms like Meta’s Horizon Worlds and Epic Games’ Fortnite.Read Article >
There will be some limits on what users can sell. The bodies and heads must follow the company’s community standards, marketplace policy, and “pass proactive checks against Roblox IP,” so you won’t be able to sell an obvious Shrek look-alike. Bodies will need to have “modesty layers built in,” which is a good restriction for a platform that’s very popular with children. The sellable parts will have to be within the limits of a maximum and minimum size so that the avatar functions properly across different experiences.
Roblox has created a virtual career center inside Roblox where people can learn more about the metaverse platform, prepare for interviews at the company, and attend events hosted by Roblox itself, according to a blog post. In the future, some initial interviews will even happen directly in the experience, Roblox says.Read Article >
You can get an idea of what it looks like in this video, which I’ve also embedded at the top of the post. “You’ll see what it’s like to work here and how you can join us in shaping the future of human connection and communication,” says a voiceover in the clip. In the experience, you can go to places like a lobby (with plaques featuring the company’s values), a library, an auditorium, a boba cafe, and more.
Roblox CEO David Baszucki envisions that its generative AI systems might someday work in a way that’s somewhat similar to what you might have seen on the sci-fi show Westworld, based on comments during Roblox’s Q2 2023 earnings call on Wednesday.Read Article >
The Westworld comparison came up as part of a longer answer about how AI might be able to help Roblox developers.
Roblox just launched in open beta on Meta’s Quest VR headsets last week, and it’s already been downloaded “well over” 1 million times, according to Roblox CEO David Baszucki. That number suggests that the app could potentially be a very popular one for VR devices; according to a February report from The Verge’s Alex Heath, Meta has sold nearly 20 million headsets, so it appears that a good number of those Quest owners are dabbling with Roblox.Read Article >
That said, Roblox and Meta have been positioning this open beta as a way for developers to test and optimize their experiences for Quest headsets, and for good reason: I’ve tried a few Roblox experiences on a Quest 2 and run into a handful of issues. But I imagine that many of the most popular Roblox experiences will get fixed up before the app officially launches for Quest headsets.
Roblox is now available in open beta on Meta’s Quest VR headsets. Roblox and Meta had announced earlier in July that the social metaverse platform would be arriving on the headsets soon, and now, you can try it for yourself.Read Article >
To check out Roblox experiences on your Quest, you can grab the app from the Quest Store. (Technically, it’s available through Meta’s App Lab.) Once it’s on your headset, you can sign in to your Roblox account and explore from there. Note that you can’t make a Roblox account on Quest just yet, according to a Roblox developer forum post.
Sensitive information identifying thousands of Roblox creators has been exposed following a data breach impacting attendees at a conference for Roblox developers, which allegedly remained undisclosed by the company for at least two years. As reported by PC Gamer, the leak contains personal information from people who attended the Roblox Developer Conference between 2017-2020, including names, usernames, date of birth, physical addresses, email addresses, IP addresses, phone numbers, and even T-shirt sizes.Read Article >
“Roblox is aware of a third-party security issue where there were indications of unauthorized access to limited personal information of a subset of our creator community,” said a Roblox spokesperson to PC Gamer. “We engaged independent experts to support the investigation led by our information security team. Those who are impacted will receive an email communicating the next steps we are taking to support them. We will continue to be vigilant in monitoring and vetting the cyber security posture of Roblox and our third-party vendors.”
Roblox is developing tools that will let developers offer subscriptions within their experiences, according to a blog post published Tuesday, which could prove to be a major new way for developers to make money in their experiences.Read Article >
Roblox already offers developers a lot of ways to monetize their experiences, including the ability to sell virtual items in an experience or on the Roblox marketplace, offering in-experience passes to certain content and gating experiences behind paid access. However, those examples are all one-time fees, and Roblox argues that subscriptions would offer a way for developers to “establish a recurring economic relationship with their users and potentially increase the predictability of their earnings.” (Other monetization options include subscriptions to private servers, engagement-based payouts, and slotting in Roblox’s “Immersive Ads.”)
Roblox will be coming to Meta’s Quest VR headsets starting with an open beta that will be available in the “coming weeks,” according to a blog post from Meta. You’ll be able to try out this Quest version of Roblox on the Quest 2 and Quest Pro, and Meta says Roblox will work on the forthcoming Quest 3 as well.Read Article >
“Roblox is automatically publishing some experiences that use default player scripts to support VR devices,” Meta writes. “They’ve found that those experiences typically run well in VR without modifications, so they’re seeding the Roblox VR library with great content from day one.” There should be a lot of experiences to choose from; the platform has more than 15 million “active experiences” right now, Roblox says. And this Quest version of Roblox will support cross-platform play, so you’ll be able to jump into experiences with players on Xbox, mobile, and desktop.
Roblox, the virtual world and game platform, has 66 million daily users who spent 14 billion collective hours on it in just Q1 of 2023. If you have kids, you’ve probably heard of Roblox. If you haven’t heard of it, Roblox CEO David Baszucki wants to change that.Read Article >
One idea? Aging up the kinds of experiences that are allowed on its platform. Roblox recently introduced 17-plus experiences. It wants to add new AI world-building capabilities. It’s even partnering with advertisers to roll out more immersive ad experiences.
Roblox has been signaling that it wants to be more than a gaming platform for kids. Today, the company is making another push in that direction by letting its creators make experiences specifically for people who are 17 and older.Read Article >
The new age category will allow for more graphic content and adult themes than Roblox has permitted to date, including depictions of heavy bloodshed and alcohol use, chief product officer Manuel Bronstein tells me. To keep underage users from accessing 17 and older experiences, Roblox will require that people scan their driver’s licenses and submit a selfie before they can access the new category.
At a recent presentation in New York, Parsons School of Design students showcased outfits they created over the course of a semester. The looks include a pale pink mock neck top and pants set with deep sea-themed patterns, a strapless mini dress made from glimmering gold feathers, and a patterned gown with strings of gravity-defying water droplets swirling its orbit. But none of the clothes are modeled by humans. They don’t even exist in the physical world.Read Article >
The nine looks made by students in the Parsons class were made in Roblox, the sprawling online gaming universe that millions of parents can’t get their kids to stop talking about. Those same kids will soon be able to purchase and wear the Parsons designs — or at least their digital counterparts can.
Roblox’s founder and CEO published a blog post this morning stressing just how much the company believes the popular gaming platform isn’t just for kids.Read Article >
The platform’s audience is starting to trend older, David Baszucki wrote in a blog post. He noted that more than 55 percent of the platform’s users are older than 13, the platform’s “fastest-growing demographic segment” is users between 17 and 24 years old, and that the 17–24 age bracket represents 22 percent of Roblox’s player base. Developers older than 17 make “the majority of our top 1000 experiences,” Baszucki wrote, and “many seek to create experiences for older audiences so they can interact exclusively with those their age.”
Roblox is now letting creators sell digital items that are only available in limited quantities, according to a post on its developer forums. That means, for example, that a creator can make a small number of digital sweaters for Roblox avatars in an effort to make that sweater feel more valuable. Users will also be able to resell these limited items, and when that happens, the original creator will get a 10 percent cut of every sale.Read Article >
Before now, creators could already make and sell digital items (which you may see referred to as “user-generated content,” or UGC). Roblox is calling these new user-made limited items “Limiteds,” and yes, the entire premise of a scarce digital Roblox good feels like it’s straying into the realm of NFTs.
We’re racing toward a world where Fortnite and Roblox could rival Steam and the App Store in terms of the size of their game libraries. Both have growing ecosystems of millions of players who build and spend time in custom battle royales, chat rooms, and all kinds of other games. We’re looking at the fight for what could be the next YouTube.Read Article >
While the two giants may be the biggest in the space, they are far from the only companies building out a catalog of tools that make the jump from game playing to game making far simpler than traditional game engines Unity or Unreal. All sorts of platforms, including the browser-based dot big bang and the top-down-focused CliCli, are looking for a piece of a market that already holds the attention of hundreds of millions of players.
Roblox (the company) is working on generative AI tools to help developers who build experiences on Roblox more easily create games and assets. The first two tests of the tools will roll out in the coming weeks: a tool to make “generative AI materials from a text prompt” and a tool for generative AI to complete code, according to a blog post from Daniel Sturman, Roblox’s chief technology officer.Read Article >
You can get an idea of how they’ll work in this short video, which I’ve also embedded at the top of this post. In one example, somebody types in different descriptions of materials for a car, and those patterns are applied right away. In others, you can see how autocompleting code might work for things like turning on the car’s lights and making it rain in the game’s world.
Roblox is officially completing its rollout of the Creator Hub, a new hub that gives developers more tools and centralizes things like documentation and a developer forum into one place. Making the information easier to find seems like it could be quite helpful for developers, and that has an important aftereffect for Roblox, too: Roblox makes its money by taking a cut of what its developers earn, so it’s incentivized to make things better for the creators on its platform.Read Article >
Creator Hub aggregates five Roblox resources, Nick Tornow, Roblox’s VP of engineering, tells The Verge:
Nov 12, 2022
Over the past few days, Twitter has seemingly been doing everything in its power to stop a wave of verified accounts impersonating brands and public figures — including pausing the Twitter Blue signups that allow them to pop up in the first place, and bringing the “Official” grey check marks that were previously announced and then canned by Elon Musk.Read Article >
And yet some high-profile impersonators have stuck around on the platform for hours or even days, flouting Musk’s rules by not having “parody” in their username. The tweets are getting more and more popular, increasing the danger for Twitter’s brand in the eyes of advertisers.