Roblox, the new game phenomenon

2019-10-25 09:18:50

Play free multiplayer but also build its own mini-games, targeting children and adolescents is the cocktail Roblox offers: the video game platform has exceeded 100 million users, exceeding a reference of its kind , Minecraft.

By announcing early August to have crossed this symbolic bar, Roblox confirms its success in the wake of Fortnite or the youngest of Electronics Art, Apex Legends, on a substantially identical model: free access but inciting the expense to obtain accessories in games.

So far primarily American or Asian, now also European, Roblox users, mostly children or teenagers whose majority is between 9 and 12 years old, rush to the mobile application or computer after school to participate go on a race full of pitfalls, escape from a prison, dive in search of hidden treasures or ... build your own adventure park.

But the 3D games on Roblox have the distinction of being entirely designed by young users - usually those over the age of 16 - in a universe that provides them with the tools to code.

"It's not a game, it's a platform to create and play," Chris Misner, president of Roblox International told AFP earlier this year.

An obvious choice, for Laurent Michaud, research director at the Idate think tank: "We greatly underestimate the way content production by users generates audience engagement," he said. estimated on Tuesday.

A commitment that has a consequence according to Mr. Misner: Roblox does not spend a penny in advertising, relying solely on word of mouth with its main target, 6-12 years.

"We have positive cash flow," said the president, whose company now claims a valuation of 2.5 billion euros after its last fundraising last September.

"They started from nothing, without community or license known. But now the community is solid, the game is good, it is expected to settle permanently in this segment of the population, "predicts Mr. Michaud.

Roblox derives its revenue from user spending. If playing is free, you need to get "Robux", a virtual currency, to make purchases in the game, customize his character or move faster.

Revenue shared with creators of mini-games, which will share $ 100 million in 2019, some even affecting a lot: after giving birth to several mini-games, a young American of 19 years has raised more than a million thanks to the success of its Jailbreak ("Evasion"), launched in April 2017.

But the majority of the 56 million games available do not generate real enthusiasm and will never benefit their creators.

"Last year I was playing + Blocks Bird + with friends. You have to have a job, you can build houses and go to your friends' house to have a party, "says 11-year-old Washington resident Denis Chatelain-Moor.

"Now I rarely play. There are a lot of games very well, but after a while we get tired a little, because updates are rare, "he observes.

Launched in 2006 on PC, Roblox took off ten years later. The platform is now available on most media, from consoles to virtual reality headsets, and it organizes thematic camps to teach children how to code games.

"We were upset that someone broke the code of conduct that way," Mr. Misner reacts. "It was a very specific incident. We were able to control it quickly and put in place protections, "he says.

An incident of no consequence however, since two months later, the sandbox of video games realized a new fundraising.

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