Popular gaming platform Roblox will be focusing on catering to older users. The company made an announcement for its new strategy as part of a presentation during its investor day last Friday.
Roblox's Chief Business Officer Craig Donato highlighted the detail during this presentation as one of the strategic growth areas for the company. While first filing for an initial public offering last November, the company ended up delaying the decision to April, opting for a direct listing. This seems to have worked in the company's favor, as Roblox has reported major revenue growth in the lead-up to its going public.
The strategy to attract older users will put an emphasis on enabling game developers to build more polished experiences that appeal to "a wider range of users." Roblox is well-established in the youth market, with over half of all kids in America having played Roblox. Donato added that 44 percent of daily active users are now over 13 years old, and the past year saw the 16-24 demographic grow faster than its core pre-teen audience. One of the primary features being implemented in an effort to attract wider audiences is personalized search and discovery of its many games. The company is working on content ratings to better match users with experiences that are age-appropriate, which it believes will gain momentum as more users come to the platform.
Another part of the platform's strategy is building a metaverse, particularly with an emphasis on concerts. Similar to Fortnite's efforts of bringing big name musical acts in-game, Roblox hosted a Lil Nas X concert last year, garnering over 33 million viewers.
Roblox's continually growing popularity, coupled with its new strategy and prospective investment from the stock market, have made an ultra-potent industry cocktail. It should be interesting to see how the platform expands in the months and years to come.
The popularity of Roblox with children was proven by a study that demonstrated over half of kids in America use the platform. It is this popularity with children that has gotten its developer, Roblox Corporation, in hot water numerous times. In 2018, the game was completely banned in the United Arab Emirates after the attorney general deemed the game damaging to children. Just a year earlier in 2017, there was controversy in the media over the chat system in the game being used inappropriately. The public were concerned over the chat systems potential to be utilized for grooming minors and exposing them to inappropriate circumstance.
Though this coverage occurred years ago, it appears these concerns are still in the mind of the Roblox Corporation today in 2021. Currently communication in game occurs almost exclusively through the chat bar. However, in a presentation meant for investors, the company announced it would be introducing a full voice chat system to Roblox. In the announcement the corporation specified that the voice chat would be “safe.” While intentions behind this move are good, it is currently unknown how the company intends on integrating this voice chat.
Previous attempts at “safe voice chat” in other games have not been successful. Minecraft has struggled against this problem for years, with the only relatively safe option being private servers controlled by friends.
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