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Roblox

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Roblox
Roblox logo 2017.svg
Roblox's logo as of January 10, 2017.[1]
Developer(s) Roblox Corporation
Publisher(s) Roblox Corporation
Director(s) David Baszucki
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Xbox One, Oculus Rift[2]
Release September 2006
Genre(s) Game Engine, Massively Multiplayer Online
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Roblox is a massively multiplayer online game creation platform that allows users to design their own games and play a wide variety of different types of games created by other users through Roblox Studio. Roblox hosts social network games constructed of Lego-like virtual blocks.[3] Co-founder and CEO David Baszucki started testing the first demos in 2004 under the name DynaBlocks. In 2005, it was renamed Roblox and became available for PCs. The platform was officially released in September 2006 by the Roblox Corporation. As of 2017, Roblox has 64 million monthly active players.[4]

Overview

Roblox Studio

Roblox is a game creation platform which allows players to create their own games using its proprietary engine, Roblox Studio. Games are coded under a object oriented programming system utilizing the programming language Lua to manipulate the environment of the game.[5][6] Users are able to create purchasable content through one-time purchases called "Game Passes", and microtransactions through 'Developer Products'. Developers on the site exchange 'Robux' earned from various products on their games into real world currency through Roblox's Developer Exchange system (also known as DevEx).[7] A percentage of the revenue from purchases is split between the developer and Roblox.[8][9] Roblox Studio supports importing meshes,[10] shadow mapping,[11] parallax mapping, and screen post-processing effects[12].

Games created through Roblox Studio are hosted through Roblox’s proprietary cloud software for server hosting and matchmaking.

Players

One of the default character models
A fourth generation (4.0) Roblox character (Robloxian), a commonly used package.

Roblox allows players to buy, sell, and create virtual items. Shirts, T-shirts, and pants can be bought by anyone but only players with a Builders Club membership can sell shirts, T-shirts and pants.[13] Only Roblox admins can sell hats, gear and packages on the platform under the official Roblox user account.[14] Hats and gear with a "Limited" status, or "Limited" items, can only be sold on the Roblox catalog or traded with Builders Club.[15]

Robux is Roblox's virtual currency that can allow a player to buy gear, hats, appeal, and in-game perks. Players can obtain Robux through real life purchases, another player buying their items, or from earning daily Robux with a membership.[8][16]

Groups

Groups allow users to group up with other users similar to a guild-like system. Group leaders can advertise their group, participate in group relations, shout out to other members of the group, and manage the roles of other group members. Groups can only be created by Builder's Club members, but ownership of groups persists if they lose their membership.

Groups function as ways for players to organize various types of communities and teams, ranging from game development groups to Roblox clans. Groups can publish their own assets such as clothing/games, which funds earned go towards group funds. Group funds can be used to run advertisements for the group or games under the group's name, and can be distributed among the members through the 'Group Payout' system.

Groups also have a 'Clan' feature - where players can compete for positions on 'Player Point' leaderboards. Clans can only have a limited amount of users per group. Player Point leaderboards are mostly a way to keep track of leaderboards for games, and thus have no monetary value.[17]

Events

Roblox occasionally hosts real life and virtual events. One such event is the Roblox Developers Conference, which regularly takes place in San Jose, California.[18] They hold virtual Easter egg hunt events annually and previously hosted events such as BloxCon.[8] Other virtual events are sales that commonly occur in America, such as Black Friday[19], Memorial Day[20], and Labor Day[21].

Development

The beta version of Roblox was created by co-founders David Baszucki and Erik Cassel in 2004,[22][23] with the initial name of DynaBlocks.[24] Baszucki started testing the first demos that year.[25][23] The website became available for PCs in 2005,[26] when it was renamed Roblox – a portmanteau of the words "robots" and "blocks".[23] The website was officially launched in September 2006.[23][27]

In March 2007, Roblox became compliant with COPPA, with the addition of safe chat, a change that limited users under the age of thirteen to communicating by selecting predefined messages from a menu.[28] In August 2007, Roblox added Builders Club, a premium membership, and applied server improvements.[29]

In December 2011, Roblox held their first Hack Week, an annual event where Roblox developers work on innovative outside-the-box ideas for new developments to present to the company.[30][31]

On December 11, 2012, Roblox released an iOS version of the game platform.[32][33] In an interview with Massively, CEO David Baszucki stated he also wanted the game platform to be available on the digital stores of "Android, Windows, Steam, Mac, Chrome, [and] Amazon..."[34]

On October 1st, 2013, Roblox released the DevEx system, allowing developers to exchange Robux earned from their games into real world currency.[35][36]

On May 31, 2015, a feature named Smooth Terrain was added, increasing the graphical fidelity of the terrain and changing the physics engine from a block-oriented style to a smoother and more realistic style.[37] On November 20, 2015, Roblox was launched on Xbox One, with an initial selection of 15 games chosen by Roblox staff.[38][39] New Roblox games for this console will have to go through an approval process, and are subject to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board standards.[40][41]

In April 2016, Roblox launched Roblox VR for Oculus Rift. At the time of release, more than ten million games were available in 3-D.[42] Also by this time, Roblox had 30 million monthly active users, and a peak of 900,000 concurrent users.[43] Around the same time period, the safe chat feature was removed and replaced by a system based on a whitelist with a set of acceptable words for users under 13 years old and on a "black list" for other users.[44]

In June 2016, the company launched a version compatible with Windows 10. While the game platform has had a PC presence since 2004 with its web version, this is the first time it was upgraded with a standalone launcher built for Windows.[45] The following month, during an episode of The Next Level, it was announced that Roblox would be ported to the PlayStation 4.[46]

Legacy

During the 2017 Roblox Developers Conference, officials said that creators on Roblox (about 1.7 million)[47] collectively earned at least $30 million USD in 2017.[18] Alex Balfanz, a developer on the site, told Business Insider that funds from his creation covered his undergraduate education at Duke University.[26]

Toy line

In January 2017, Jazwares, a toy fabricator, joined with the Roblox Corporation to produce 40 toy minifigures based on user generated content created by large developers on the platform.[48] The toys were announced to the player base of Roblox via their blog, on February 1, 2017.[49] The minifigures had limbs and joints similar to that of Lego minifigures. The minifigures also had limbs and accessories that are interchangeable. The first series contained 40 minifigures in all, being sold in sets of three or six, or individual minifigures. All of these sets included a code that could be used to redeem virtual items.[49][50]

Later that year in August, Roblox announced the second series of minifigures, introducing 40 more minifigures of characters from popular games on the platform, along with the online avatars of popular developers. There is also a 'blind box', that contains a random minifigure and has a chance to contain a 'Mystery Figure'.[51]

Awards and recognition

Roblox Corporation has received the following accolades:

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External links