After years working in the kids segment of the video game business, producing successful strategies for brands like Hot Wheels, Subway Surfers, Crayola, and Star Wars Rebels, I recently started a studio that specializes in the biggest kids and young adult gaming platform today, Roblox. Unsurprisingly, I now get inbound messages from colleagues, friends, and strangers about Roblox nearly every day.
“Roblox … it’s like Minecraft right? A building game like digital LEGOs or something?” To which I indubitably reply. “Yes, except not even a little. You couldn’t possibly be more out of touch, get with it!” Kidding, I get it. Roblox is known for having the “blocky” look, which I’ll explain below. But other than that, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Minecraft or LEGO, and it’s not even a game per se. So then, what is Roblox?”
In 2004, a very smart gentleman named Dave Baszucki had the vision to create a gaming platform where kids could learn to code, he named it Roblox. As momentum around gaming as the predominant form of entertainment has grown over the last few years, Roblox’s UGC gaming platform has been the outsize winner of time and mindshare.
Today the platform has 150MM monthly active users around the world, will pay out $250MM to developers this year, is more searched on YouTube than Minecraft, and is fast closing in on Fortnite. If you’re in the market for having your mind blown, please have a think on this: If viewed as a single app, Roblox is the #1 most popular game in the world today!
But, Roblox is so much more than a game. Here’s a pretty tight analog: You’re familiar with the App Store, right? Think about Roblox as an alternate App Store. Just like Apple’s turnkey solution for mobile gaming and apps, Roblox is a digital destination where creators can distribute their games and players can find them and download them.
Just like the App Store, within the Roblox platform, there are standalone games that have enormous followings of their own. Our top game at Gamefam, Ultimate Driving, has over 60K social media followers across Twitter and Discord, and is generating significant revenue for our company. Roblox’s top game overall, Adopt Me!, gets over 1B visits to its game per month, making it one of the top 10 most played games in the world, on any platform.
So, why are players congregating on Roblox in record numbers you might ask? And why do some people find the platform a bit of a mystery?
Allow me to present, the Top 5 Things That Make Roblox so Distinctively Roblox-y
- The “Blocky” Look: Roblox games are streamed down from the cloud; games do not leave a memory footprint before or after playing. Therefore, most developers prefer the streaming-optimized “low poly” look, which often takes the form of “blocky.” But, developers are free to pursue any aesthetic they choose.
- Roblox-y Game Genres: Roblox games, just like teens and young adults, speak in their own slang. Roblox games resemble traditional games, but every genre has a Roblox-y twist to it.
- Socialization: Roblox’s powerful COPPA-compliant toolset has enabled it to become the #1 place for kids to safely hang out together online. Roblox’s social tools for finding and playing with friends blow away those from even Steam, Xbox, and Playstation. Lifelong friendships are being formed on the platform every day.
- Community: Because of the social aspect, Roblox’s community is obsessed with Roblox. Following their favorite creators on social and voraciously consuming video content on YouTube, Robloxians are immersed in a living, breathing world of play and connectivity.
- Roblox’s Platform: Growing organically, along with its community for 15 years, Roblox’s platform has folkways that its hundreds of millions of players understand, but that can be a bit inscrutable to newcomers. But, its unique look and feel are familiar and even nostalgic to its community, and that’s what matters – as you become part of this amazing community, it will soon feel like home for you too.
And this list of unique and unusual attributes, this profoundly youth-centric vibe, is why Gamefam hires from within the Robloxian creator community as much as possible. We’re building a culture here that mixes pro gaming best practices with the creative vitality of a generation that has grown up with games as their dominant media channel, many of whom started making their own Roblox games in middle school. It’s both humbling and inspiring to be working with such motivated and skilled young game developers.
We’ll be sharing more over the coming months, but suffice it to say that we’re having a great, Roblox-y time!
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @joeferencz and follow Gamefam @gamefamstudios
Thank you kindly for your time and I look forward to enjoying more conversations about Gamefam and Roblox soon.