This video is about the 2020 Roblox Developers Conference where Founder and CEO David Baszucki talks about the evolution of Roblox.
First, let’s talk about what is Roblox and what it can do
Roblox is a popular game creation site where users design and upload their own games as well as play other games in a multiplayer environment.
Roblox is sort of like Unity made easy. If you have used Unity and had trouble with it and want to make games in an easy sort of way then Roblox is perfect for you. It just makes the creative flow that much easier by having the very basics taken care of and you can dive in and start creating the game you want to make.
There are over 50 million games that have been created by its community players. Some of the most popular Roblox games are work at a pizza place, Roblox high schools, call of Robloxia, etc. You can access Roblox on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon devices, and Xbox one. The only thing you have to do to access Roblox is to go to the Roblox website and sign up for an account.
By signing up, you will get the opportunity to open and use the Roblox studio application, which allows players to construct games by building bricks and blocks that vary in size and color. Games on Roblox can be scripted using the programming language Lua. A script is basically a series of instructions for a program to follow to create custom behavior.
Roblox may not be as famous as children’s games like Fortnite or Minecraft, but it recently announced it has more than 100 million active monthly players. Developers and makers are really making money using Roblox.
Roblox has evolved over the last 14 years, and the recent pandemic while difficult has proven to realize the original vision of what the game could achieve. For many in isolation it has proven to be a great tool for bringing people together in a kind, supportive and collaborative manner. An example of the future evolution David hopes for is that future RDC events will be held on Roblox itself.
Connecting Everyone: From 3m:20s
By their best estimates around three-quarters of nine to twelve years old in the United States right now are hanging out on Roblox on a monthly basis, and what’s really interesting is that they are also now seeing a dramatic growth in older users too.
David compares the visual experience of Roblox in 2006 to how it looks today and where they plan to take it in the future. Their ambition is for it to make an amazing leap into physically-based rendering so that it entirely emulates the real world, continuing their core ethos of these environments being entirely user generated.
He repeats this comparison for the creation of avatars. He believes Roblox is in the middle of building the most powerful open-ended avatar system anywhere where any clothing, any body, any motion and animation can always be combined together.
A major update they are working on is an ads system, enabling users to find the games their users create for other users to play.
Besides connecting players of all ages, another vision is that Roblox will act as a universal translator. This will allow users from across the world to hang out and communicate, utilizing the translation capability. Korea, Russia, Germany, France, the Philippines and Brazil are all growing very quickly, and David’s vision is that Roblox can act to connect the world together.
To connect people safely and with civility, there are over 1600 Trust and Safety staff, who reviewed 8.7 million images in June, that’s 290,000 images per day.
Roblox vision for developer brands: From 12m:30s
The core objective of Roblox is to be transparent, so that the creators are brought to the fore, the developers creating brands. It’s also expanding in many different directions such as Roblox Toys, which has shipped over 57 million items, and a board game is coming too.
Their original Builders Club has evolved into Roblox Premium, which is growing twice as fast as Roblox, driving subscriptions and providing an environment for game developers to innovate without being too overly concerned about monetization. Over 200 of the 1,000 top games are making more revenue from engagement-based pay outs than Roblox.
Human Co-Experience – Building the Metaverse: From 16m:20s
David shares the ultimate vision of Roblox, to realize the concept of the Metaverse fantasized about for years by the sci-fi community and more recently by the tech industry.
The Roblox team envisage very fun, large-scale participation scenarios, like a medieval battle with 50,000 players attacking a destructible castle. They’re starting to pioneer the first building blocks of this through hosting their town hall meetings virtually on Roblox.
Key technology innovations to simulate the real world include great avatars and the ability to simulate how the real world sounds. For example being able to whisper to the person next to you while you can still hear the loud speaker announcements, what they call ‘spatial audio’.
Another example demonstrating the concept is their One World virtual concert, and given the global pandemic it’s likely to prove a hugely popular trend, another great opportunity for their developers.
At 21:10 David also explores the super cool idea of the virtual smartphone, so that the chat function can be embedded directly into games.
Roblox as a Utility: From 22m:00
David describes Roblox as a ‘social utility’, where in addition to playing on Roblox there will be meta creation, where developers actually create their own game development app.
There is huge opportunity to utilize Roblox for learning and even to become a collaborative tool within the corporate world.
He concludes the presentation with their progress against a series of predictions and goals:
- No country with more than 50% of their top developers.
- One million concurrency, passed recently.
- Major brand releases a game to Roblox as their primary platform.
- A movie based on a Roblox game.
- More than 50 million people learn to code on Roblox.
- Achieved over 100k viewers on a Roblox stream.
- A single Roblox developer makes more than $50m in a year, to happen this or next year.
- A 100 person company developing on Roblox.
- The USA President will mention their Roblox avatar on camera (!).
- Premiering a movie on Roblox.
- Tesla to use Roblox in some promotional effort.
David thanks the community for their ongoing involvement from the bottom of his heart.