Roblox rarely gets a great deal of media attention, but when it does, we usually get a glimpse of just how big it's become. This again seems to be the case in the last two weeks, in which Roblox announced it has 100 million monthly active users (making it bigger than Minecraft). Now, Roblox has said its community developers are on track to earn $100m (£82.9m) in 2019. And there's more to come.
The news was announced earlier this week at Roblox's fifth annual developer conference, in which the company unveiled further developer tools, a developer marketplace and plans to make its developer software fully cloud-based (via Business Wire). Developers can expect to see an enhanced lighting system, visual upgrades such as updated terrain, and support for building competitive matchmaking games which match players of similar skill levels. Cloud support will allow developers to collaborate in real-time and access development files online.
The marketplace, meanwhile, will allow developers to sell assets and tools to fellow developers, such as plug-ins, 3D models and other items. It all sounds very similar to the Unity Asset Store.
On this note, if you're still wondering what the heck Roblox is, it's part sandbox video game (think Minecraft), part development platform (think Unity). The free development tools are provided by Roblox Studio, which allows developers to create games and earn money through the sale of virtual goods (purchased using the in-game currency Robux). Some of the largest games created on Roblox include Adopt Me - a roleplaying game about babies that's currently being played by 97k people, and MeepCity - a social hangout space inspired by games such as Club Penguin, which has 26k concurrents at time of writing.
While the games produced by Roblox Studio currently don't look particularly elaborate, the platform essentially provides an easy way for young creators to access game development tools. There are now over two million Roblox game creators and over 15m games on the platform - just in case you hadn't yet grasped the size of this thing.
"What I love about Roblox is that it breaks down the barriers for game designers, giving them a chance to be creative, try new things, and share it with a massive player community," said Robin Hunicke, co-founder of independent studio Funomena, in a keynote address at RDC. "The enthusiasm and camaraderie from these young creators was fantastic, and they share my belief in the power of games to bring people together. I can't wait to see what they create next!"
After my own adventures in the Roblox political roleplaying community, in which I spectated prime minister's questions, I can only imagine.