What a year it’s been.
It’s December 29th (at the time of this writing, I’m certain this will post shortly after the new year), and I’m sitting in my ski cabin surrounded by falling snow and jagged icicles. I spent the morning cross-country skiing with my dog, and have spent the afternoon reflecting on this past year–what it meant, and where ROBLOX is going from here. As users, you are the single most important aspect of our platform, and you deserve to understand our vision for the year ahead. But before we get into that, let’s take stock of how far we’ve come.
The last few months have been a maelstrom. With the release of ROBLOX on iOS, we have seen ROBLOX user growth accelerate. Just recently we reached over 125,000 simultaneous players and guests. I remember celebrating 100 simultaneous players five years ago at our summer BBQ. I remember when ROBLOX had 100,000 members, total. Though the numbers are different, the feeling of accomplishment is refreshingly similar. Growth. More and more people are using ROBLOX each day.
We are starting to hear about ROBLOX everywhere we go. At a recent dinner party with some experts in education, my mother-in-law talked with teachers about students who couldn’t stop playing a game called “ROBLOX”. Our Communications Specialist traveled to the south to see family for the holidays–his 12-year-old cousin, a kid he had only met two or three times–was thrilled to hear that he worked for us (then asked numerous times if he could get him Builders Club). We recently visited a local Bay Area middle school, only to find an entire computer lab full of ROBLOX players and fans. Our board members interact with execs at large media companies who have kids that love ROBLOX.
Users are spending more time building, creating and playing ROBLOX than most top online destinations. ComScore, a rating agency for online advertising, reports that ROBLOX has more page views and time spent online than Pandora, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Disney Online, Nickelodeon, Match.com, IMVU, Poptropica, PBS Kids, Cartoon Network, Mattel, or Miniclip. Our users aren’t just gaming, they’re creating. They’re sharing and interacting. And they keep coming back.
As we move forward, I find myself thinking not just about where we’re going, but how we’re going to get there. 2012 has been a fantastic year, and we’ve made enormous progress by sticking to three simple areas of focus: Building, Great Games, and Platforms. We want to build a better ROBLOX, but that’s not something we can do all by ourselves. Getting you–our community–more active, more creative, more engaged, is one of our biggest priorities for 2013.
We want everyone on ROBLOX to build things (in addition to playing great games!). At its core, building is what differentiates our platform. We want your first build experience on ROBLOX to be easy, accessible and fun. We’re planning on combining the capabilities found in “build mode” with the Welcome to ROBLOX Building Place in an effort to create a seamless, core building application. We’ve been kicking around some ideas–like online/offline play, the ability to seamlessly transition from solo to multiplayer gameplay, and a curated system for users to create and sell building components.
We have committed to ROBLOX Studio as the core development environment for our platform, and plan on making it more accessible. We want ROBLOX Studio to be the “MS Word” of game development, providing easy access for beginners, and powerful capabilities and assets for more advanced users.
We have begun to drive engineering through the creation of top quality content. In order to improve ROBLOX, we’ve elected to live in the shoes of our game creators who are striving to create the “perfect” game. We are implementing core tech that will benefit our creators. More parts. Faster load times. Less memory. We’re working to perfect and simplify the ROBLOX experience in a way that users of all backgrounds, beginners or veterans, can embrace. Several releases this past year reflect this philosophy. Our Featherweight Parts have allowed you to populate your virtual world with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of light-weight parts at a stable and playable framerate. Our game design templates were constructed to give builders a starting point when creating competitive multiplayer games. Our release of water reflects our passion for realistic physics simulation.
I am constantly amazed at what you, our users, have been able to build with our platform. Whether it’s a recreation of a BMW, reflect-able lasers, custom camera systems, or massive mechs, you continue to push the boundaries of our platform in creative ways. Your innovation inspires us to make ROBLOX better. And as we continue to improve, we continue to spread as well.
Our long term vision is for ROBLOX users to be able to play anywhere. We’re working on improving a common code base that can be used to port ROBLOX to tablets and phones running operating systems other than iOS, including Android and Windows 8. In order to do this, we’re finding ways to lighten our memory footprint while also improving and scaling our graphics performance.
Every year that’s passed I’ve watched ROBLOX grow, spread and impress. I expect this year will be no different. So, on this cold day, as I wrap up this note in the falling snow, I want to finish by saying thank you. ROBLOX would never be where it is today if it wasn’t for you, our users and fans. We’ve come a long way, but we never lose sight of the fact that we can go even farther, work harder, and accomplish more. We’re not going to hope for a lucrative year in 2013, we’re going to build one. We encourage you to do the same.