If you have kids, then odds are you’ve heard of Roblox — even if you’re not sure exactly what the platform’s all about. To put it simply, Roblox is an online gaming and game design platform. But it’s not any old online gaming experience. In fact, it’s an immensely popular one that boasted an impressive 150 million active monthly users as of 2020. But why, exactly, has Roblox enjoyed such massive success? We’re cracking the code here.
Availability on a Wide Range of Devices
While Roblox has technically been around since 2005, it was only available to play in PC format in its early days. Back then, it remained largely under the radar, but, once the company behind the platform was able to develop an app version, all of that changed. As it would turn out, broadening Roblox’s availability was a key move that made all the difference.
With iterations now available on smartphones, tablets and Microsoft’s Xbox One, Roblox’s popularity has exploded, especially among school-age kids and tweens around the world. Unlike other beloved online gaming experiences, Roblox doesn’t require a specific gaming console — which means it doesn’t require convincing your parents to buy you another device. While the platform may not boast the stunning visuals or other features found in console-based games, it has proven that millions of users don’t mind a simpler, cartoon-style design when the games and interface at the core of the platform are so engaging.
Countless Games to Choose From
One of the most important things to understand about Roblox is that it’s not necessarily a game in and of itself. It’s more of an online platform that hosts pretty much every type of game imaginable. Best of all, a vast majority of these games are free.
Players can create personalized avatars, which, in turn, populate the various games — games that allow them to explore the wild west or go scuba diving. The options seem endless! Additionally, parents will be relieved to discover that, because the platform is aimed at kids and families, the vast majority of Roblox games don’t contain violence, and the ones that do still tend to be pretty tame.
As with most free online platforms, there are also a variety of paid membership options. Premium memberships offer perks like a monthly allowance of Robux, a type of in-game currency that players use to buy gear and accessories for their avatars, game passes and more. That said, it’s also entirely possible to enjoy Roblox for free, so families can choose the configuration that suits them best.
It Helps Players Unleash Their Creativity
One of Roblox’s more impressive strengths is that it not only allows players to choose from a huge variety of games, but it also allows players to create virtual worlds and characters of their own. In a sense, it’s a bit like a virtual version of LEGOs — or something akin to the ever-popular Minecraft.
In this sense, Roblox can actually be pretty educational. That is, it allows users to create their own content by employing a coding language called Lua. Best of all, Lua is simple enough that players can use no-code; opt for drag and drop options; or, as they get more advanced, embed their own lines of code. Not only is this a fun idea, but it can also make creators some serious cash if their game ends up being popular with other players on the Roblox platform.
Players like Alex Balfanz, the co-creator of a game called Jailbreak, made enough money to pay for a college education at Duke University in a matter of months. While it’s true that not every creator will make millions of dollars, there’s something about that level of success being a legitimate possibility that adds to the thrill of creating.
Social Networking Features Mean Virtual Fun with Pals
If you take a look around your kid’s Roblox account, you may discover that some of their favorite games revolve around the kind of virtual role-playing popularized by old games like The Sims. Some of the platform’s more popular games allow users to attend virtual school; work in a pizza parlor; and adopt virtual pets.
While none of these may sound like a huge thrill for parents, kids get a kick out of them, largely because Roblox makes it easy to play such games with their real-life friends. The platform is set up like a kid-friendly social networking site, so users can add people they know from the real world to their friend list. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this virtual adventuring has become a real source of fun during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prevented IRL play dates and hangouts for nearly a year.
Parental Controls Make Things Safe for Young Players
Roblox is well aware of its popularity among children and, therefore, takes safety precautions very seriously. Due to the interactive nature of the game, some parents may worry about their kids being contacted by shady characters via messaging or chat functions. That’s why the platform offers a set of parental controls, which allows parents to limit or disable chat capabilities — and restrict their child’s access to age-appropriate games.
By linking your child’s account to your email address, you’ll be able to create a PIN — one that will prevent your young gamer from adjusting the settings you put in place. Additionally, the chat feeds automatically censor out any inappropriate language and are overseen by both electronic and human monitors. Still have concerns? Be sure to check out Roblox’s parents’ guide for more information on how to keep your kids safe online.
Without a doubt, Roblox has become one of the world’s most popular gaming experiences because it allows users to channel their creativity into incredible projects, connect with real-life friends virtually and experience a wide variety of games for free. While it may not have flashy graphics or a library of overly complex games, Roblox has more than proven to be a great option for younger gamers whose parents aren’t quite ready to send them into the world of social media or console-based online games just yet.