If you missed the recent whirlwind of Roblox announcements, they read like the company's concerted attempt to the cross (in a single leap!) the Metaverse Age Cliff, that point in the lifecycle of a platform where usage tends to drop sharply as the user base reaches adulthood:
- Coming later this year in early release, Roblox Connect is an avatar-to-avatar voice chat system. Most metaverse platforms already have some variation of this, but seeing as Roblox has 300 million monthly active users — i.e. nearly the size of the entire US population – this feature will create a calling network large enough to compete with traditional phone carriers.
- Roblox is coming to PlayStation 4/5 next month, connecting it to an install base of over 150 million households, primarily comprised of core gamers in their 20s and 30s.
- The company also unveiled a generative AI assistant (video below) to create 3D content.
- Roblox CEO David Baszucki is again promising "dating experiences" coming to adult-age users in the next 5 years, where "thousands" of people will start real life relationships. This is basically re-branding an existing phenomena for a mass market/Wall Street audience — thousands of people already do that in virtual worlds every day. Indeed, the 20-something developer couple I profiled in the book first met in Roblox. (More on them later.)
Pictured: Frontlines, recent user-created Roblox experience ideal for PlayStation crowd
This is on top of the recent Meta Quest integration and the little covered news (from a reputable data gathering source) that Roblox has amassed 300 million monthly active users. If the PlayStation launch is successful, the company will have a near-unbeatable lead among metaverse platforms.
As for the generative AI, I'm still a bit skeptical that it will be more than a brief novelty — but it will take a platform of Roblox's size to determine that. Watch below:
Update, 5:55pm: Tweaked this post and title to emphasize the VOIP calling feature, because, wow.