These past twelve months have been transformative. We started 2019 with a set of audacious goals, but the efforts and achievements of our teams at Roblox HQ and the wider Roblox community have surpassed even our greatest expectations. Not only did we achieve record monthly numbers of more than a billion hours of engagement, but we also crossed the 100 million monthly active users mark. To each and every one of our fans around the world, I am grateful for your continued passion and support.
I’d like to touch upon a few key highlights from 2019—but first, allow me to say thank you for believing in our vision to bring the world together through play. Building this platform has presented an enormous opportunity to connect people in a way that’s never been done before. We see a future where people from all over the world are coming to Roblox not just to play, but to create, learn, and work together.
As we usher in this new category we call human co-experience, we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible. Our continued success will depend on our ability to innovate, to listen to the needs of our community, and to hire hundreds of values-aligned people who share our aspirations. In 2019, we hired over 200 people to accelerate our vision and make our platform even better. Given our upward momentum, I’m optimistic about our prospects in 2020 and beyond. The best is yet to come.
Roblox Around the World
It was a standout year for our international efforts. I’m proud to announce that we opened our first office in Shenzhen to spearhead our business initiatives in China. We partnered with Tencent—one of the top online gaming companies and media platforms in the world—to inspire the next generation of creators in China to learn coding, digital citizenship, game design, and entrepreneurial skills on Roblox.
Together with Tencent, we launched a series of youth-oriented education programs to fuel the creativity and imagination of Chinese students. It’s always been a dream of ours to connect people from China to North America to Europe through the power of digital play, so this is an exciting leap toward that vision.
In addition to our partnership, we launched official support for French and German, expanded our cloud localization tools to support 45 languages, and localized 150 top Roblox experiences in Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Korean, and Japanese. Ultimately we believe that creators should be able to run their experiences on every platform and have them translated seamlessly into any language they desire. In the future, this will be made possible through machine translation, automatic crowd-sourced translation, or a combination of the two. As our translation toolset gets better and better, we can start to envision a world where creators from China, Korea, and Japan are working together and forming friendships with Americans or Europeans. It’s going to be really exciting to see more and more experiences on Roblox made by multicultural teams.
More Immersive, More Expansive Experiences
Our developer community continues to set the bar higher and higher each and every year. There was a time when it was almost inconceivable to imagine we’d ever have over 100,000 concurrent players on Roblox. In 2019, we saw more and more experiences surpass that threshold on their own, including Adopt Me, Ninja Legends, MeepCity, Royale High, Saber Simulator, Pet Simulator 2, and Welcome to Bloxburg. I’d also like to congratulate Adopt Me, Royale High, Welcome to Bloxburg, Prison Life, Flee the Facility, and Super Hero Tycoon for crossing the one billion visits milestone in 2019.
It’s always a pleasure to meet with so many promising creators from around the world at the Roblox Developers Conference. At this year’s event, we doubled down on our commitment to investing in their success and ensuring they have the tools to produce experiences that are constantly pushing the envelope on immersive gameplay. With multi-hundred player servers, new and innovative advancements in our physics engine and lighting and rendering systems, new terrain tools, and powerful analytics services like PlayFab, we are enabling developers to create worlds and experiences unlike anything you’ve seen. And, with our new collaborative editing tools, we’ve unlocked the potential for the first hundred-person studio on Roblox. The future has never looked more promising for Roblox creators.
Setting a New Standard
It blows my mind seeing how much our product has evolved over the course of the year. We have a new dark theme, a new avatar editor on mobile, new emotes, a new Premium subscription to replace Builders Club, and hundreds of amazing user-created accessories that look beyond anything we could have imagined. We are moving toward a future where everything you see on Roblox will have been made by someone from the community. Kudos to the artists who contributed such stellar works to our Rthro Design Contests, as well as the 3D modelers who have brought so much creativity, diversity, and personality to the Avatar Shop. The power of user-generated content never fails to astonish us.
What an incredible year it’s been for our partnerships as well. More and more brands across the world are recognizing the power of digital play, from media and entertainment giants like Netflix, WB, Disney, and WWE to big players in the sports industry including Nike, NFL, FC Barcelona, and Liverpool FC.
We also continue to see great success in the app stores. Roblox was the #1 most downloaded free iPad app in the world. Roblox has also been the #1 free family game on Google Play and one of the top free games on Xbox One for the past three years running, which is an enormous testament to the enduring popularity of the many high-quality experiences created by our talented developer community.
Leading the Way in Digital Civility
Our work is never complete when it comes to digital civility. Over the course of 2019, we made it our goal to educate parents, guardians, and teachers about the power of play. We created a new Parent’s Guide and Digital Well-Being section on our website; participated in a number of speaking opportunities at Collision, Web Summit, ISTE, Games for Change, Fast Company Innovation Festival, IBPA, and FOSI Annual Conference; launched a Roblox Civility page on Facebook to distribute content about online safety and digital well-being; and shared the results from our digital civility survey about the divide between parents and teens when talking about appropriate online behavior.
We will continue to actively engage with parents and safety organizations around the world to provide a safe, positive space where kids and teens can play and be free to explore their imaginations.
Roblox Merchandise and Gift Cards
Our licensing programs continue to perform extremely well, which speaks to the widespread recognition and popularity of the many iconic characters and experiences created by our creator community. We launched over 200 toys; released four new books; and collaborated with community creators to release branded apparel based on popular Roblox experiences on our refreshed Amazon page.
Our gift card business has also been expanding rapidly—not just in the United States, but around the world. By 2020 we’ll have grown our footprint from a presence in only 45 retailers in 10 countries to over 180 retailers in over 16 countries. We’ve also launched our digital gift cards on Amazon.com in the U.S. with plans to expand to 6 additional countries soon. Keep an eye out for our new gift card look in 2020.
Thank You for a Great Year
My optimism for the future is fueled by the dedication of our player community, the creativity of our developer community, and the passion of the great people who work at Roblox. From the bottom of my heart, I offer my sincere thanks for making 2019 one of the best and most fulfilling years we’ve had so far at Roblox. I have a feeling that 2020 is going to be even bigger and better than ever.
Wishing you a happy new year,
David Baszucki (a.k.a. Builderman)
Founder and CEO of Roblox