2022 Year In Review – Letter from our CEO
by David Baszucki, Founder and CEO
Product & Tech People & Culture Community
2022 was a great year for Roblox. We are optimistically driving our vision to reimagine the way people come together, and we’re realizing it by enabling deeper forms of expression, communication, and immersion.
The investments we are making to expand the engagement of Roblox across geographies and age groups are paying off. Our community grew by 23% this year to more than 56 million daily global users. And our users spent over 49.3 billion hours coming together to create, play, explore, learn, and connect. Today, more than half of the people on Roblox are 13 and older, demonstrating our platform’s appeal to a broad range of audiences.
Innovation and improvements across every aspect of Roblox played a key role in driving our growth. Here are some of our major accomplishments from 2022.
Enabling Self-Expression and Connection
With the launch of Layered Clothing, we continued to empower people to express themselves and their identity creatively. This feature enables clothing and accessories to fit any avatar body type. Items like shirts, dresses, sweaters, jackets, and pants are now worn in layers and copy the way apparel fits and drapes on individuals in the real world. This provides our community with the power to create never-before-seen clothing and accessory types. Users can mix and match an incredible range of body styles and outfits, taking avatar customization possibilities to the next level. Since launch, we have seen over 115 million people own a layered clothing item.
We also continued to expand the quality and immersion of social interactions on Roblox. Now, people verified as ages 13 and older can use Chat with their voice to speak aloud with one another. This functionality is built to mimic in-person conversations, and is based on avatars’ proximity to each other – meaning you might whisper to a friend nearby or raise your voice to carry across the room. Almost a million Roblox experiences have already enabled voice communications.
At the end of the year, we rolled out Contact Importer, a safe and secure way for people to find and connect with real-life friends. Contact Importer uses the same contact names saved on a user’s device, so they can quickly recognize their friends on the Roblox platform. We also released Friend Recommendations, so people ages 13 and older can easily review and add friends directly. These two features are important steps in making it easier for people to connect while continuing to uphold the privacy and safety of our community.
Expanding Creator Opportunities
Other important innovations were focused on accelerating our vision of making creation accessible to everyone on Roblox. We’re building tools so anyone from new creators to big development studios can bring their creations to fruition.
In 2022, our community visited more than 15 million experiences on the platform, and developers and creators published more than 15,000 experiences every single day. To support this creation flywheel, we made advancements to Roblox Studio, our free development software for building and publishing 3D content. Roblox Studio now has a refreshed look and new features — like support for high-resolution displays and redesigned icons for better navigation — that allow creators to customize their workspaces and collaborate with teammates seamlessly.
In July 2022, we rolled out a number of advancements to our material system to enhance the visual quality of the full library of existing materials and make them look and feel even more realistic than before. Materials on Roblox are akin to materials in the real world. They’re used to not only define the surface appearance of a 3D object but also its physical properties, which in turn influences how the object behaves. Our material system will help our creators more easily realize their aesthetic vision.
We’ve also added several new features to Roblox Cloud, our developer ecosystem, to streamline experience development and enhance productivity. Developers can now access all their Roblox resources via APIs that enable a rich ecosystem of tools for improving creator workflows and customization.
At the end of the year, we began rolling out our new Creator Hub, a resource that brings all of our online tools and documentation for developers into a unified platform. Creator Hub makes creation easier, faster, and more streamlined by providing operational and management support in one place. The technology we’re building for Creator Hub will also bring greater fidelity and capabilities to developer creations.
Evolving our Virtual Economy
In 2022, our Economy team achieved an important milestone: more than 90% of items published in Marketplace are now made by creators, getting us even closer to the point where all content within Roblox is fully user-generated. We’re continuing to improve user discovery in Marketplace, so people can find items they want in a way that will redefine the user journey. We envision a future where select items are offered on a limited basis, and other items are more widely available, so people can find a breadth of items they love.
This September, at our biggest Roblox Developers Conference ever, we announced Immersive Ads. This innovative 3D advertising experience is designed to give brands and developers alike the ability to reach their audiences in new ways.
Investing in Safety and Civility
As the Roblox community continues to grow, we are deeply focused on ensuring a safe and civil environment for our users. Over the last year, we increased our investments in AI and machine learning for autonomously detecting and preventing attempts by bad actors to engage in harmful communications or upload harmful content.
We continued to improve sophistication in our content and chat moderation efforts. Using natural language processing models, we’ve evolved our systems to not just flag prohibited language but to understand context and act accordingly. In 2022, we used these models to power automated moderation features in English, as well as in Spanish, German, Portuguese and more, and we will continue to roll them out globally in 2023.
Thanks to our investments around AI and machine learning, we’ve been able to safely channel more of our first-line moderation to automated systems. Roblox has made meaningful improvements to the time to action on content identified as problematic. The upshot: while speed in moderation has long been a strength for Roblox, we’re now even faster and more accurate.
Creating Opportunities for Brands
Brands of all types, from Alo Yoga and Spotify to the NFL, continued to use Roblox to connect and engage with millions of people. Every day, Roblox makes entirely new online connections possible by giving companies the ability to create exciting activations and virtual products. There were over 100 brand activations launched in 2022.
By giving people the tools to express themselves in any way they want, we’ve seen some amazing creativity and interesting trends from the community. These were captured in our 2022 Metaverse Fashion Trends report, published in collaboration with the Parsons School of Design. The report dives into the new trends and opportunities in digital fashion, and how apparel in the virtual world can inspire people to express themselves in new ways on Roblox.
We also continued to focus on supporting educational developers, providers, and educators in bringing high-quality content to the platform across a broad range of subjects, grade levels, and experience genres. We made progress in the education category by partnering with our first Roblox Community Fund recipient, the Museum of Science, Boston, on the launch of their Mission: Mars experience on the platform.
As companies continue to establish themselves on Roblox with the help of our community, the opportunities for creators increase. And the growth of our community expands the opportunities for organizations to connect with their audiences on Roblox. We’re excited to see this momentum continue.
Investing in Our People
None of this would be possible without our talented employees. To support the ongoing growth of our platform, we continued to invest in developing our talent and leadership. Nick Tornow joined us to lead the Creator Engineering group, and most recently John Stauffer joined us as our new VP of Engineering on the Engine group.
In the spirit of collaboration driving innovation, we held our first all-employee in-person Roblox Week at our San Mateo headquarters in July. Teams gathered for a week of activities that fostered connections, strengthened our community, and celebrated the technical innovations we’re building to shape the future. And at the end of the year, we returned to an in-person Hack Week, with more than 225 teams pursuing self-directed projects that pushed boundaries and accelerated the future of our platform.
Finally, we were honored to rank third on Fast Company’s Top 100 Workplaces for Innovators in 2022. This award reflects our innovation-first culture that empowers our technical teams to be responsible, take the long view, and get stuff done, all while respecting our global community of millions of creators.
The Journey Ahead
Looking ahead, I’m excited to see how creativity and invention continue to fuel growth at Roblox. At every level, we’re seeing new opportunities to connect a billion people with optimism and civility.
I’d like to thank our employees, our Roblox board, and the entire Roblox community for all the things they’ve achieved and made possible this year. We have an exciting year ahead.
David Baszucki, a.k.a Builderman
Founder and CEO, Roblox