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Now, my world has a strong opponent. It can be said that roblox is the only sandbox game that can “compete” with my world. According to the latest data, roblox has 164 million monthly and 36.2 million daily lives, distributed in more than 180 countries around the world.

Most players are not unfamiliar with sandbox games. The game features of high degree of freedom, strong interactivity and many random events allow players to break away from the main plot of the game and play freely. But roblox is not simply a game. To be exact, it is a game platform, a platform created and developed by “users”.

To enter roblox, players need to create a “virtual image” representing themselves: mosaic body and simple stroke expression. Use virtual images to walk on tropical islands, horror castles, prosperous towns and other maps, first person shooting, puzzle solving, action survival, role playing There are also various game modes.

“Players can discover new games endlessly, because independent developers create as many as 20 million new games a year for the platform.” The New York Times wrote.

In January 2021, the valuation of roblox, which completed the h-round financing of US $520 million, reached 29.5 billion. A16z, Temasek, Tencent, tiger global management fund, etc., and the investor lineup behind it was also dazzling enough. To a large extent, the value of roblox lies in that the children’s entertainment market is not rich and high-quality. So far, only roblox has filled the gap.

Primary school students’ spiritual home

Since last March, middle schools in the United States have been closed. Garvey Mortley has stopped all extracurricular activities. She has devoted all her time to playing roblox, building virtual houses, adopting pets, and playing obstacle races It takes up to 5 hours to chat while playing the game. Even before the outbreak, she had to play 1-2 hours a day. “It’s my main hobby. Roblox is very diverse, where you can meet people from all over the world. ” Mortley said.

During the epidemic period, the average online time per user was 2.6 hours per day. At first glance, this number doesn’t matter, but as the most popular short video app, users only brush 52 minutes a day at tiktok.

From February to July last year, roblox Mau grew 35% to 164 million, according to rtrack. In July, players spent 3 billion hours on roblox, twice as much as in February. More than half of roblox users are under 13 years old, and about three-quarters of American children aged 9-12 are on roblox.

What roblox CEO Dave baszucki values very much is the combination of games and education: using virtual environment to make knowledge concepts more interactive and break the traditional way of learning. Baszucki said children used to study “during the American Civil War” by reading books or watching videos. We are imagining a future: when you know the world, you go in and experience it, and get to know it directly.

Techcrunch puts forward an interesting idea that maybe roblox will not be the “Wikipedia” of teenagers in the future.

In 2006, roblox launched a free game development engine, roblox studio, which allows creators to create games with Lua, a programming language. Its development is relatively difficult and easy to use. In 2008, roblox closed the official game development, turned to platform construction, and gave all the creative rights to users. That’s why roblox has unlimited possibilities: even roblox can’t determine what a game looks like, but the UGC community of millions of developers can.

Especially in education, roblox creates a new possibility of sandbox game, from “open world experience” to a new tool for teenagers to learn knowledge and understand the world. It is reported that many primary and secondary schools abroad have tried to use roblox as a teaching tool, even in obscure mathematical and chemical principles. In addition, let teenagers learn programming by creating games, so roblox won Tencent’s first investment in programming education track.

Social games

“Roblox is becoming a new generation of social networking, just like friends used to go shopping. Just as it happens, the epidemic accelerates that. ” One venture capitalist said. This probably explains that roblox is popular among teenagers not only with tens of millions of games, but also with its inborn “sociality”.

It’s got to do with Dave baszucki.

In 1989, baszucki founded a teaching software company, software for simulating physical experiments. What he didn’t expect was that, in addition to simulating boring experiments on quality or speed, students also used them to create small games on the scene of car accidents and house collapses to show off to friends. Almost 10 years later, baszucki sold the company and became an angel investor. He invested in Friendster, a social networking company that preceded Facebook and MySpace.

The past two experiences, the construction of powerful creative sandbox tools and the operation of social networks, have also become an opportunity for the birth of roblox. The initial test version of roblox was very rough, and the characters were simply put together by color blocks. Some people joked that “rigid images float around like ghosts”. When the beta was launched, only 50 people were online at the same time, but baszucki still spent a lot of energy on the operation. A few players chatted on the message board. Baszucki also opened roblox studio (development engine) in uncertainty.

I didn’t expect the players to make their own games immediately. In baszucki’s opinion, the quality of the Games is comparable to that of the official games. Character appearance, game props, background screen, action model Along with the development of the community, it is gradually enriched.

At that time, roblox was almost a “commonweal community”, and its profits depended on few web ads. It’s not only roblox that doesn’t make money, it’s developers that don’t make money. In 2013, roblox allowed developers to participate in the sharing, and players bought game currency named robux to obtain role clothing, props and weapons. Roblox “bazaar” also allows developers to sell any assets made for the game.

However, the community atmosphere and culture built by interest and enthusiasm in the early stage has continued to make roblox one of the most valuable game companies today.

In 2006, roblox hired the first batch of employees to develop other functions. “Back in 2006, it’s not easy for people to communicate and interact in online games. First, I set up a friend system, and then I set up a private message function, doing a lot of basic work.” Said Matt Dusek.

Generally speaking, roblox has increasingly become a social platform for teenagers, and games are one of the ways to socialize. Later, roblox introduced private space, allowing players to hold virtual birthday parties and class meetings online. This is also the “human co experience” repeatedly mentioned by roblox in the prospectus.

Baszucki understands “common experience” as that in an immersive environment where users can play, explore, communicate and stroll, users create an identity that is as rich as their offline and real life. “Many of roblox’s games are more cooperative than competitive. The goal of the game is not clear, or the goal of the game is not important at all. For example, one of the most popular games on roblox is meepcity, where players run and chat on high school campuses without paying attention to any game mechanism. ” Techcrunch wrote.

Someone’s making millions a year playing games for roblox

Some people grew up with roblox. Alex balfanz, 21, has been writing games on roblox since he was 9 years old. In 2017, when balfanz was in high school, he released a game called jailbreak. He was surprised to find that jailbreak gained 70000 players on the first day. When the New York Times reported on him in August last year, jailbreak had been played 4 billion times and made millions a year.

Most of the roblox developers are teenagers and college students. Those who do well even set up studios, and some of them pay off their student loans with the profits from internal purchase. Balfanz, for example, is one of the top developers on roblox. According to the prospectus, roblox has nearly 7 million active developers. In the 12 months to September last year, more than 96 developers made money, of which 1050 earned more than $10000 and 250 earned more than $100000. “Like youtube, roblox has become a money making tool and entrepreneurial platform.” The investors said.