Enabling Creation of Anything, Anywhere, by Anyone
by Nick Tornow, VP, Creator Engineering
All Product & Tech
At Roblox, our vision is to reimagine the way we come together. Millions of developers and creators across the globe come together to inspire, build, and share. Our platform is user created and our community is at the center of everything we do.
Everything you see on Roblox – from the high-fidelity experiences to the expressions of avatars – is built by our community. Developers want to create and share their creative visions with the world, but in the current game development environment outside of Roblox, this is harder than it should be. Roblox Studio is the most accessible 3D development tool in the world, and we’re about to take it to a whole other level. We’re enabling the creation of anything, anywhere, by anyone, and constantly investing in new tools and services to empower our creator community to do things we never could have imagined.
Roblox is uniquely positioned to offer developers:
- Powerful creation tools that publish in seconds
- A platform that drives discovery and rapid viral growth
- Rapid iteration and scaling with no up front costs
- Deeper connections and richer worlds as our engine and platform evolve
I shared our product and vision with creators at Game Developers Conference (GDC) today, which is a leading forum that gathers creative energy and discussion on solving the obstacles and challenges creators face. Here’s a recap of what we’re doing to accelerate creation on Roblox.
Powerful creation tools that publish in seconds
We provide Roblox developers with everything they need to create and publish an experience to iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and XBox in seconds, with more platforms on the way.
Within the Creator Hub, the Developer Forum allows creators to exchange information; our Talent Hub allows creators to find one another to build amazing experiences; and, our Creator Marketplace allows creators to share tools, technologies, and assets with one another.
A platform that drives discovery and rapid viral growth
Once a creator crafts and publishes a world, it is deployed to our large audience. With more than 67 million daily active users (DAUs¹) now able to see and join that experience in seconds with no additional downloads required, the potential for rapid growth is high. Couple this with the rich social graph connecting our users together, and their ability to see what their friends are doing and join them in session with a single tap, and you have a highly dynamic ecosystem, ready to launch new experiences to the top of the charts in days.
Not only is the Roblox audience large, it is also increasingly broad. More than half of Roblox users are over the age of 13, and our fastest growing age cohort is 17–24 year-olds, which now account for nearly a quarter of DAUs on the platform.
A good example of a game and team that recently exploded onto the scene is Maximillian Studios, a 6-person team who, over the course of a year, built and released Frontlines — a first-person action experience on Roblox.
Leveraging new technology, cinematic aspects from film, and unique audio and design techniques on Roblox, Maximilian’s creativity and obsession with detail has created an incredible and seamless experience for users. Less than a month after launch Frontlines has already received 12 million global visits, with users logging on everywhere from San Francisco to Paris and Tokyo.
Rapid iteration and scaling with no upfront costs
With your content live and in front of lots of users, Roblox provides a rapid and rich feedback loop on how people are engaging with your work. This feedback loop is facilitated both by our integrated Analytics system and by our monetization mechanisms.
Additionally, on the cost side, we handle infrastructure hosting, storage, customer support, localization, payment processing, moderation, and platform costs.
For example, in early August of last year, DOORS reached nearly 1 billion visits. The creator, Lightning Splash is a team of two who built the game in less than a year. Roblox Influencer KreekCraft called it the best game of the year.” With Roblox’s free hosting and cross-platform distribution, Lightning Splash was able to handle massive overnight growth with no outages or scaling crises. When I checked the other day, they were balancing 160,000 concurrent players, with 2.6 billion total plays across platforms, and they are now a team of four.
For Janzen Madsen and Splitting Point Studios, iteration is a core part of their strategy. With nearly 2.8 billion visits to top experiences including Rolling Thunder and Wacky Wizards, the ability to push updates in a matter of seconds is something their community has learned to expect and has been a core monetization tactic for the studio. When something breaks, they fix it instantly via a frictionless update to all users, without requiring users to update an app. When they have a new item to roll out or a time-bound event, they push it out instantly to boost engagement. When the community doesn’t like an update, they can rewrite it at any time. This obsession with their users led to strong community ratings.
Today, a number of our developers are building sizable businesses on Roblox, and it’s just the beginning. Over the 2 year period of 2021-2022, Roblox delivered over $1.1 billion to our global community of developers via DevEx payments, representing a 164% increase versus the prior two years. What’s more, if you look at the growth rate by top 10, top 100, and top 1000 creators over the last three years, while you see growth in each segment, with a 33% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for top 10, and a 47% CAGR for top 100, we see an astonishing 91% CAGR for top 1000 creators. Our platform has an increasingly broad set of creators, an increasingly broad set of content, and appeals to an increasingly broad set of users. By continually extending the creation and monetization options available to creators, we intend to continue to democratize creation and open up opportunities for success across our creator community.
Deeper connections and richer worlds as our engine and platform evolve
As you create, gain users, and iterate, Roblox is working on making your world more lifelike, and more deeply engaging through immersive social systems and more realistic worlds.
An example of this work can be seen in our avatar systems. Every user on Roblox has a personalized avatar, and we are rolling out the capability for every avatar to display natural facial expressions – emotions and speech related movements as captured by their device’s camera. Additionally, we are supplementing our current text chat with voice chat. Together, these features will allow your users to interact with each other naturally and intuitively.
We are also investing in more realistic worlds. The Roblox engine models the real world, and we work to make materials and systems in Roblox behave as they would in our physical world. A creator may describe a house or tree as made of wood during creation. Meanwhile, we are working on better modeling wood, how it behaves when hit by an ax, how it floats on water and catches fire when exposed to heat. The result is that with no code, your experience can become richer and full of emergent behavior.
Another example is aerodynamics. Just like in the real world, a plane flies because of its shape and speed. When you drop a feather or toss a paper airplane, they float and glide to the ground. You do not have to program these behaviors: you can focus on crafting your world, and our ability to richly simulate this world can enhance your gameplay over time.
Our engine is designed to adapt to the user’s device. A single world may involve users on a wide multitude of devices. The engine gracefully loads in and simulates what is appropriate for each device, maintaining a fair and equitable experience and framerate with minimal work for the creator.
As a result, experiences built on Roblox can stand the test of time. Jailbreak is a great example of an experience that continues to succeed in new and innovative ways. The experience gives players the opportunity to role play a prison escape – receiving over 6 billion visits since it was first developed in early 2017. As Roblox rolls out new tech, such as physics-bound materials, Jailbreak creator Badimo continues to evolve their world to keep their users engaged. Jailbreak’s popularity has led it to unique brand partnerships with NASCAR and McLaren. For example, McLaren launched their new MCL36 Formula 1 car in Jailbreak on the same day they unveiled the real-world version, allowing Jailbreak players to test drive the car before it even hit the Formula 1 tracks.
Join Us on Roblox
In conclusion, creators have everything they need to start building for free. They can publish across platforms in literal seconds, reaching a massive global audience. The audience can join experiences in seconds, with no downloads, following and playing with friends. Roblox then empowers creators to easily iterate, engage, monetize and retain. Roblox is an elegant solution for many of the challenges of game development today, and it’s constantly getting richer. There’s never been a better time to build on Roblox.
Join Us at GDC
If you are at GDC tomorrow and interested in learning more, we hope you’ll join us. We are really excited for you to hear directly from 14 Roblox developer studios on their personal journeys and success on the platform. Roblox Engine: Developing on a Platform that Powers 32M Immersive Experiences session is at 10am and Pushing the Boundaries of Immersive Worlds session is at 4pm. Additionally, if you missed any of our sessions earlier in the week, you can check them out on GDC’s Vault.
We are excited to be on this journey with you.
¹ February 2023