Roblox, a videogame company that encourages players to build things, is quantifying its success for the first time. The closely held company, which launched six years ago, estimates that its 2013 revenue will be about $30 million, up from “$20 million-ish” last year and around $15 million in 2011. The company also said it is “close to break-even” in terms of profit.
Six years ago, ROBLOX started attracting younger gamers – generally between 8 and 14 years-old – to its user-generated, massively multiplayer world. While it's easy to draw some comparisons to the block-based concept of Minecraft, ROBLOX separates itself by allowing users to create entire games for others to play. Today, ROBLOX has launched the mobile version of its unique platform to the iOS format, bringing with it millions of user-generated levels and opening up possibilities for creativity to an even wider audience.
Roblox has mixed news for parents who wring their hands over their children rotting away from video games: your little monsters never have to unplug now that they can keep playing the site’s games on their iPads and iPhones.
Some comfort, however, should come in the fact that Roblox, the top entertainment site for kids according to ComScore, doesn’t just go in for frenzied adrenaline jolts: users customize avatars and can actually create their own games.
This past summer, I came home from work to find my son and his friend M. playing Roblox, a massively multiplayer online game that lets you construct virtual worlds and customize an avatar to explore it.
“How long have they been playing?” I asked his baby sitter.
“Four hours,” she said.
Stunned, I looked at them. “Four?”
I think I understand why building-block toys are so popular. It’s probably because we instinctively understand that our world is built on cells that are built on molecules that are built on atoms that are built on quarks — and that building something brick by brick emulates that type of creation. Or maybe dopamine simply flushes through our lizard brains when we click two objects together to create something recognizable. Today, online gaming platform Roblox reaches millions of active players by applying that building-block method to user-generated content.
Kids ages 8 and way, way up spend 21 million hours a month in the Roblox universe. It’s a massively multiplayer online game where friends can meet, collaborate, chat and compete. Everything has a Lego-like look, so even fierce battles are cute. And the best part is that players can construct their own games and worlds using a surprisingly sophisticated tool kit. It’s O.K. to call it a junior-size counterpart to Minecraft — as long as you know that Roblox came first.
ROBLOX Build and Battle: Developer Preview
The biggest entertainment website for kids isn't the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. It's Roblox-- an interactive environment that lets kids build their own worlds, play a variety of games, and become entrepreneurs.
Received $4M Series B Funding
Participation Altos Ventures, First Round Capital
Unlike most highly commercialized free-to-play kids' virtual worlds, Roblox started as an outgrowth of technology designed to simulate physics. It's a pure physics-based play space; kids arrange the blocks into LEGO-like structures, and others can access these spaces as they wish. Rather than a virtual world, it's a collection of user-generated spaces: in terms of how the site is set up, it's almost like a YouTube of play.
Received $2.2M Series A Funding
Participation First Round Capital, Altos Ventures