What is Roblox?
Your kids might be playing in the virtual world Roblox, but this children’s paradise might become the next influencer platform. Roblox was released in 2006 and has become the go to virtual world for children under 16 with over half of US children playing in the world and almost 38 million worldwide. The free-to-play game earns revenues by taking a portion of “Robux” transacted in the world. Game developers, item designers, and event coordinators will collectively earn $250 million in 2020. Some popular games built on top of the platform include: Adopt Me!, Jailbreak, MeepCity, Murder Mystery 2, Natural Disaster Survival, Piggy, Royale High, Welcome to Bloxburg, and Work at a Pizza Place.
Why is Roblox important?
The immersive world of Roblox makes it very interesting to children of all ages and is also a harbinger of new technology adoption. Since it started as (and still is for the most part) a children’s application, there are limits to what can be done. To be compliant with COPPA (but not yet the FTC), chat is achieved via a drop down menu. However, this limitation has become an advantage to the world’s developers. It is so simple and easy to use that there are a variety of games and niches for nearly every interest and a large proportion of the games created via Roblox Studio is made by kids. “Roblox is the first online digital experience for many young people. The way they interact with the worlds, games, and others will carry over into how they use the rest of the Internet,” says Devo Harris, CEO and founder of Adventr.
Roblox is available on a variety of platforms including XBox One and Oculus Rift, as well as web and mobile applications. The virtual world was also granted access to the gigantic Chinese market late last year in 2020. From a marketing standpoint, brands know how challenging it is to reach the youth demographic. Promos for Wonder Woman 1984 and Aquaman were held in the world as well as Lil Nas holding a virtual concert to debut his song “Holiday”, which was similar to how Travis Scott held a virtual concert in Fortnite. Developers enjoy the platform due to the higher control that is offered for content creators and the per user amounts are much more lucrative than YouTube.
What is the future for Roblox?
When Roblox is mentioned, children and young adults are usually thought of. Yet is this the second coming of that virtual world that was promised for us when SecondLife was the rage? Wasn’t Facebook that social network for kids until it wasn’t? Speaking of Facebook, one of the reasons why kids love to develop on the platform is because nearly all of their friends are on it. Further, there are a number of casual games on the platform that female players enjoy, which casual gaming company Zynga can attest to its success. In the gaming world which is male dominated with shoot em ups, car racing, and alien blasting, more than half of gamers are female looking for a different type and pace of game (think casual gaming like Candy Crush or Farmville) which the platform offers.
A lot of influencers, marketers, and thought leaders are starting to build out their presence on Roblox and with their recent direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker: RBLX), it is not going to ebb away as easily as Second Life. Not sure about it? Ask your kids where they are spending their time (and your money) and maybe you might be convinced!
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