Even if you are not an avid gamer, chances are that you’ve heard of ROBLOX before. With over 160 million users per month on average, countless content creators and dedicated sites, it’s hard not to. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, ROBLOX was released many years ago but it stayed under the radar for a long time. So what happened? How did this platform turn into what it is today? To really answer this question, we need to go some 17 years back in time.
ROBLOX release date and reception
It was 2004 when David Baszucki and Erik Cassel started working on the development of their new project. Originally, they were considering going with GoBlocks or DynaBlocks as the name and they even registered these domain names. A year later though, the company finally changed its name to Roblox. Under that name, the platform was officially launched, on September 1st, 2006.
Oftentimes people refer to Roblox as ‘a game’, but that’s not exactly what it is. Even though it underwent many changes throughout the years, with different features being added or removed, Roblox is an online platform that allows its users to create their own worlds as well as join worlds created by other users. Roblox developers refer to these worlds, or games, as ‘experiences’.
When users create an account, they get an avatar that represents them on Roblox. These avatars, also known as Robloxians or simply characters, are used by the players to move around in games and interact with the world.
These days, avatars are highly customizable. Players can select from a variety of different clothes, shirts, accessories, shirts, pants and gear to dress up their avatars or make their own clothes. But that’s not all. Avatars have a head, a torso, two arms and two legs which can also be changed to the users liking. Some of these options are completely free, while others cost Robux. Players can even come up with their own creations and even make their avatars look realistic by using options such as Roblox GFX or Slender, for example.
Good things take time
But let’s go back to our story. The company, as well as the platform, remained somewhat small for years after its release. The reason? Of course, no one can say for sure but the truth is that things were different back then. Much different. For example, playing games on mobiles wasn’t even a thing. The best gaming experience you could have on your phone was to play a game of Snake or something. There were still no iPhones or Android devices at the time. We were using flip phones and Nokia was leading that market.
The Internet was still in its early stages and even though online communities always existed, it wasn’t anything like it is today. To put things into perspective, YouTube was officially launched sometime in December of 2005, just a few months before Roblox’s release, and Twitch went online years later in 2011.
ROBLOX’s rise in Popularity
Things slowly started to change for the company sometime during the next decade when Roblox was released on multiple new platforms. First was the iOS release in 2012, then an Android version two years later. A version also became available for Xbox sometime in 2016.
Today you can even play ROBLOX on PS4. This new market turned out to be exactly what Roblox needed as the new generation of gamers embraced it. Streamers, content creators and game developers started to join a fast-growing community. In the following years, Roblox would see its popularity skyrocket.
Today Roblox is so big that by 2020, the iOS version alone had passed $2 billion dollars in lifetime revenue. A number so impressive that would make Roblox the second-highest iOS app of all time. Some of the platform’s biggest titles, games such as Adopt Me! or Meepcity, have millions of visits every month. And there are more on Roblox’s list. In fact, there are so many games on the platform that I don’t think we know the exact number and new ones being added almost daily.
So in the end, a lot of stuff had to happen for Roblox to become the multi-billion company that it is today. And even though nothing is certain, it looks like Roblox will be around for years to come as its community keeps growing.
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