Our Investment in Roblox
If you told me five years ago that a 13 year old could be a game developer, I would have been skeptical. If you told me there would be another platform game that would be more popular than Minecraft, I would have been really skeptical.
Roblox has changed all that.
Over the past several years, the gaming industry has undergone a transformation driven by technological advancements, such as mobile and cloud, and new gaming tools and platforms. Historically, consoles and PCs dominated the gaming market, but the rise of mobile and online games and live streaming services have ushered in a new generation of players and game creators.
Roblox has built the first next-generation gaming platform at scale. The traditional game company model relies on internal or contracted developers building titles to be published primarily as standalone games. The goal is to make hit games that can be turned into brands and franchises with many sequels or extensions (think Call of Duty, Star Wars Battlefront, or even Overwatch and Fortnite). These models are heavy on top-down game design, expensive development costs and are hit franchise driven.
Roblox is a completely different mode — more YouTube than Netflix. Roblox lets anyone create and play interactive, 3D multiplayer casual games. Individuals or Indie developers can easily create and build new games for a massive community of Roblox users who are constantly looking for new content. And players can immerse themselves in the Roblox platform world of these games while also making social connections and playing with friends.
For creators, the game engine is part of the magic of Roblox. Indie developers and creative individuals of all ages can create new content and games that people love. The tool is simple and intuitive yet offers creators infinite flexibility to customize, add different features and game mechanics. Once a creator has completed a game in Roblox Studio, they can publish directly to all platforms including mobile, desktop and game consoles.
Roblox players can play any one of thousands of games and discover new games published on the platform. They have access to free games in every genre imaginable and Roblox surfaces game recommendations based on games a user has played, game ratings on the platform, and the number of players actively playing games. Every game is multiplayer, making it easy to play in a group of friends.
Most importantly, Roblox functions as a social network — users can friend other users to interact and play games together. It’s one of the core reasons many people decide to stay and spend time in Roblox. Players can play with friends and make new friends while discovering new games. And, as players become more engaged, more developers build for the platform, which in turn creates more game variety and more users.
At Greylock, I’ve spent much of my career investing in companies and products that have strong network effects that connect people together. Roblox has built just that — a platform that garners a community across the world, which continues to organically grow month over month. The numbers speak for themselves: Roblox has more than 70 million monthly users with over 40 million titles produced by over 4 million creators on the platform. On top of that, several games on the platform have over 1 billion plays and 1,500 of those titles have received more than 1 million views.
Roblox was founded in 2005 by David Baszucki. Over a decade ago, David founded Roblox foreseeing how the game industry would change. I still remember Dave demoing the early alpha version of Roblox each year to kids at our school’s Science Fair. They loved it, and he got great, free user feedback. It’s been inspiring to see both Dave’s perseverance and commitment to the principles he believed in for Roblox users and builders, as well as breathtaking to witness the dramatic success the platform has enjoyed in recent years. He and his team have built an robust platform and ecosystem that has garnered a large global community of game developers and players.
Empowering the creativity of developers and the exploration of users is at the core of everything they do, and I’m excited and honored to be part of this new world that Roblox is building for players and creators alike.