ROBLOX Welcomes Microsoft and Sony to Our Home in the Cloud
This will probably come as no surprise, but our staff is populated by gaming enthusiasts. We spend our lives working to make ROBLOX the best gaming experience out there, and part of that means keeping a vigilant eye on our industry. ROBLOX is a unique platform in that it exists entirely on the internet–and it’s been interesting to notice other platforms start to shift their gaze towards a cloud-based architecture.
Let’s take a quote from a recent interview with Xbox Live Computer Program Manager John Bruno:
“What we found is that developers were very interested in doing more on server,” said Bruno. “Particularly in the area of things like dedicated-server multiplayer and even pushing the boundaries of what is done from a peer-computing standpoint, but a lot of them didn’t have the resources or didn’t necessarily want to make the risky investment.”
Does this sound familiar? More and more companies in the gaming industry are starting to see the benefits of a cloud-based existence. Microsoft will be utilizing Xbox Live Compute, which is the new name for their Xbox Cloud to host multiplayer instances of various Xbox Live titles. Sony purchased streaming service Gaikai for 380 million (!!!) dollars so they could focus specifically on expanding the Playstation universe to a wide variety of devices while vastly improving their digital content distribution schemes. The next generation of consoles in each camp are starting to see not only the benefits of existing in the cloud, but the necessity.
Bruno went on to explain that the idea for the Xbox Cloud is to provide all of the online infrastructure to support things like dedicated servers for multiplayer instances so that studios can focus on making games.
Does that sound familiar? It should, because that idea is the cornerstone of ROBLOX’s foundation. Similar to Sony and Microsoft, we too have many game studios publishing games on our platform. The big difference? These studios are populated with you, our many builders. ROBLOX gives our developers the tools, bandwidth and support to build anything you can imagine, then scale that creation out to potentially hundreds of thousands of people without a second thought.
There are reasons that ROBLOX has stood mostly alone in this game space. You see, the majority of game studios focus on building, well, games. We are a unique entity in that there are no other game studios who focus on a building a system for hosting arbitrary titles in the cloud. However, nobody wants to manage their own servers, as doing so is an extremely tedious process. Ask anybody who’s ever hosted a Team Fortress 2 server. Yeesh.
When we started ROBLOX, we looked to sites like YouTube–an entertainment site, rather than a gaming site–as inspiration. Think about how YouTube works from the producers end, and you are the producer. Say you film Justin Bieber getting hit by a water bottle at a concert–you can upload that video to the internet and potentially millions of people could (and should) watch it. You don’t think or worry about the bandwidth or the server costs required to stream video to millions of people, and why should you? We wanted to make a similar system in the world of games that is fast, instant, like YouTube, wonderfully random.
One of the wonderful things about our approach to hosting developer content is that we can easily maintain our servers and make them scalable with a platform that is ever-evolving. If we release a new version of ROBLOX, your game servers will update immediately and your content will continue to surge to thousands of players. Often, users aren’t even aware that ROBLOX has changed, and we take great pride in that. We have games on ROBLOX that have been active for many years without the place builder having to even think about updates. In that same period of time we’ve upgraded our game server hardware year after year, which is also something our developers don’t need to think about. Hundreds of versions of ROBLOX, both client and server side, have come out. The entire network wire protocol has changed, and not a single developer has noticed. We will always be there to host our digital content, no matter how old, how complex, or how massive the creation. We’ve made the cloud our home for the past six years, and the foundation of that home is solid as steel at this point.
So we’d like to close this article by formally welcoming Sony and Microsoft to dinner. You’re late, but you made it! Unfortunately, we’ve already eaten. Don’t fret, though–the table is still set.