Roblox plans to grow up with its users
The Future. At its annual developer conference, Roblox announced a bevy of new features set to roll out over the next year. The features are meant to mature the platform with its aging audience, the hope being that Roblox won’t only be known as a game for kids and end up losing users… which may put the platform in direct competition with Fortnite in creating a youth-driven metaverse.
According to The Verge, Roblox knows it needs to age up to keep up with the times, so it’s introducing a handful of new features for those over the age of 13.
- Immersive ads. The platform is introducing the ability for creators to put up 3D advertising on virtual billboards, posters, taxis, and various other surfaces within experiences (what game worlds are called inside Roblox). Creators will get a cut of the ad revenue generated.
- Brand portals. Brands can also create “portals” between games — like a coffee shop or shoe store — that are essentially virtual activations.
- Age ratings. Like movie ratings, Roblox plans to roll out a system that lets creators age-restrict their experiences (although no equivalent to an R-rating will be allowed).
- Expressive avatars. Soon, avatars will be given facial expressions (like winking and smiling), and will be able to chat with each other with a user’s camera animating their facial movements.
While Roblox has been known as a kid-focused destination, CEO David Baszucki says that evolving demographics on the platform are changing the platform’s ecosystem.
- Half of its 52.2 million daily active users are now over the age of 13.
- Roblox’s biggest growth is in users who are in their late teens to early-20s.
- Virtual events and branded worlds also typically bring in an older crowd.
And with a growing population, revenue share will need to grow as well. Although 2.7 million users earn money on the platform, they’re only left with 30% of the revenue after app store fees, and Roblox takes its cut.
The ad revenue should help, and the company is adding $10 million more to its $25 million game fund to incentivize independent developers to build.