|Director(s)||David Baszucki, Erik Cassel|
|Platform(s)||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Xbox One|
|Release||September 1, 2006|
December 11, 2012
July 16, 2014
|Genre(s)||Game creation system, massively multiplayer online|
Roblox is an online game platform and game creation system that allows users to program games and play games created by other users. Founded by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel in 2004 and officially released in 2006, the platform hosts user-created games in many genres, such as racing games, role-playing games, simulations and obstacle courses, coded in the programming language Lua. Roblox is free-to-play, with in-game purchases available through a virtual currency called "Robux". As of August 2019, Roblox has over 100 million monthly active users. Roblox has received generally positive reviews from critics.
Roblox is a game creation platform which allows players to create their own games using its proprietary engine, Roblox Studio. Games are coded under an object-oriented programming system utilizing the programming language Lua to manipulate the environment of the game. Users are able to create purchasable content through one-time purchases, known as "game passes," as well as microtransactions which can be purchased more than once, known as "developer products" or simply "products." Game developers and content creators can earn the site's virtual currency, known as "Robux," through creating and selling virtual content on Roblox. A percentage of the revenue from purchases is split between the developer and Roblox Corporation. Robux acquired through the sale of user-generated content can be exchanged into real world currency through the website's "Developer Exchange" system.
Roblox allows players to buy, sell, and create virtual items. Clothes can be bought by anyone, but only players with a premium membership can sell them. Only Roblox administrators can sell accessories, body parts, gear, and packages under the official Roblox user account; virtual hats and accessories can also be published by a select few users with past experience working with the Roblox Corporation. Items with a limited edition status can only be traded between or sold by users with premium membership status.
Robux is the virtual currency in Roblox that allows players to buy various items. Players can obtain Robux by purchasing it with real currency, from a recurring stipend given to members with premium membership, and from other players by producing and selling virtual content on Roblox.
Roblox occasionally hosts real life and virtual events. They have in the past hosted events such as BloxCon, which was a convention for players of all ages. Roblox currently operates annual Easter egg hunts. Roblox also occasionally engages in events to promote films, such as ones held for Wonder Woman 1984 and Aquaman.
Roblox Corporation annually hosts its Roblox Developers Conference, a three-day invite-only event in San Francisco where top content creators on the site learn of upcoming changes to the platform. Roblox has also hosted similar events in London and Amsterdam.
The beta version of Roblox was created by co-founders David Baszucki and Erik Cassel in 2004, originally under the name DynaBlocks. Baszucki started testing the first demos that year. In 2005, the company changed its name to Roblox. Roblox officially launched on September 1, 2006.
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. In August, Roblox applied server improvements and released a premium membership service named "Builders Club." This paid membership feature was, in September 2019, rebranded as "Roblox Premium."
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. On December 11, 2012, Roblox released an iOS version of the game platform, and on July 16, 2014, also released an Android version. On October 1, 2013, Roblox released its "Developer Exchange" program, allowing developers to exchange virtual Robux earned from their games into real world currencies.
On May 31, 2015, a feature called '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. On November 20, Roblox was launched on Xbox One, with an initial selection of 15 games chosen by Roblox staff. New Roblox games for this console will have to go through an approval process, and are subject to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board standards.
In April 2016, Roblox launched Roblox VR for Oculus Rift. At the time of release, more than ten million games were available in 3D. 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 blacklist for other users. In June, the company launched a version compatible with Windows 10. While the game platform has had a presence on the PC since 2004, when its web version was created, this was the first time it was upgraded with a standalone launcher built for Windows.
Community and culture
Users of Roblox have been noted for their efforts against racism, with numerous regular users and co-founder Baszucki having declared their support for the George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter.
Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Roblox in numerous ways. Due to quarantines imposed by the pandemic limiting social interaction, Roblox was used as a way for children to communicate with each other. One of the most noted ways that this method of communication was carried out was the phenomenon of birthday parties being held on the platform. On May 1, 2020, Roblox Corp. announced a virtual fundraiser to raise money for charities that are battling COVID-19.
Reception and revenue
Roblox as a whole has received generally positive reviews. Common Sense Media gave it 4 out of 5 starts, praising the website’s variety of games and ability to encourage creativity in children, while also finding that the decentralised nature of the platform meant game quality varied, and recommended disabling chat functions for young players to prevent possibly harmful interactions. Patricia E. Vance of the Family Online Safety Institute also advised parents to monitor their child's interactions on the platform, but praised the platform for "allow[ing] kids to play, explore, socialize, create and learn in a self-directed way", and granted especial praise to Roblox Studio for its ability to encourage children to experience game development.
Due to its status as a games platform, Roblox has a variety of popular games. As of May 2020, the most popular games on Roblox have over 10 million monthly active players each. At least 16 games have been played more than one billion times, and at least 5,000 have been played more than one million times. Some of the more notable games include;
Adopt Me!, a role-playing video game wherein players pretend to be either parents adopting a child, or children getting adopted. As of December 2019, the game had been played upwards of three billion times. The game received attention on April Fools Day, 2020, when the inclusion of a temporary pet rock in the game caused it to have 680,000 concurrent players. Following the inclusion of tradeable pets in the game, which can sell for up to 100 American dollars, a large subculture of scammers rose up within the game. As the primary user base of Adopt Me! is on average younger than the rest of Roblox, they are especially susceptible to falling for scams.
Jailbreak, a cops and robbers game which is among the most on the site, accumulating tens of thousands of concurrent players daily at its height. Jailbreak was featured in Roblox's Ready Player One event, based around the release of the film. A developer of Jailbreak covered his undergraduate education at Duke University using funds from his creation. Jailbreak was conceived and created as a more fleshed-out version of an earlier game called Prison Life.
Murder Mystery 2, a game where players are randomly assigned roles to play each round. One player is selected to be a murderer, who must kill everyone in order to win, while another player is selected to be a sheriff, and must kill the murderer in order to win; all remaining players are selected as innocents whose goal is to survive. The game's level design has been praised by critics.
Piggy, an episodic survival horror game that incorporates elements from Peppa Pig and the niche horror game Granny into a zombie apocalypse setting. The games style of episodic storytelling resulted in a significant fanbase developing prior to the game’s final major update on May 25, 2020.
Welcome to Bloxburg, a game based off The Sims, noted for being a Roblox game which players have to purchase with Robux before playing. As of December 2019, the game had been played 1.4 billion times. Bloxburg was used as a demonstrative tool in a summer camp called the "Junior Builder Camp" to teach children about homebuilding.
Work at a Pizza Place, a game in which players work together to fulfill orders at a pizza parlor. The game is considered a classic among the Roblox userbase, with the creator attributing its success to the games' ability to encourage socializing. The game has received praise for its driving mechanics.
MeepCity is a 2016 role-playing video game made by Roblox player and developer AlexNewTorn. It was released on February 23, 2016. It is notable for being the first game on Roblox to get 1 billion visits and for being the Roblox game that took the shortest amount of time to get to 1 billion visits (2 years). Roblox toys based on the game were released. In 2018, the game got 1 billion visits. In July 2018, a mother of a female 7-year-old child sent a complaint to Roblox that a hack allowed her child's avatar to be raped by two boys through a hack.
During the 2017 Roblox Developers Conference, officials said that creators on the game platform (about 1.7 million) collectively earned at least $30 million in 2017. The iOS version of Roblox passed $1 billion dollars of lifetime revenue in November 2019 and $1.5 billion in June 2020, making it the iOS app with the second-highest revenue. Roblox Corp. itself is valued at $4 billion dollars.
In January 2017, Jazwares, a toy fabricator, teamed up with the Roblox Corporation to produce toy minifigures based on user-generated content created by large developers on the platform. The minifigures have limbs and joints similar to that of Lego minifigures. The minifigures also have limbs and accessories that are interchangeable. All of the sets include a code that can be used to redeem virtual items. There are also blind boxes that contain random minifigures and have a chance to contain a mystery figure.
Awards and recognition
Roblox has received the following accolades:
- Inc. 5000 List of America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies (2016, 2017)
- San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA) Award of Excellence (2017)
- San Francisco Business Times' Tech & Innovation Award – Gaming/eSports (2017)
- Fast Company's World's 50 Most Innovative Companies - #1 in Gaming and #9 Overall (2020)
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