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What is Roblox and How Does it Differ from Other Gaming Platforms?

Breaking down Roblox compared to Minecraft, Fortnite and others.

 

In an increasingly fragmented entertainment landscape, Roblox has emerged as a significant platform, especially among younger Gen Z and Gen Alpha audiences.


As brands seek ways to reach new consumers, understanding what sets Roblox apart from other gaming platforms is crucial.


In this post, I explore what Roblox is, its unique features, and how it compares to popular UGC gaming platforms like Minecraft and Fortnite, mobile games, and AAA console games.


What is Roblox?


Roblox is an online platform that allows users to create, share, and play games made by other users. Think of it a lot like YouTube, but focused on user-made games rather than user-made videos.


Launched all the way back in 2006, Roblox has been around for quite a while, but it really took off in the past few years during the pandemic, when so many people were stuck at home and needed ways to connect and socialize with others.


The platform is particularly popular among children and teens with 42% of the audience under 13 years old and 58% over 13 years old (as of Q1 2024).


Roblox offers a wide variety of games and experiences, which are created using its proprietary game development tool, Roblox Studio. In 2022, people visited 15 million different Roblox experiences.


Core Features of Roblox


1. User-Generated Content: The cornerstone of Roblox is its user-generated content. Unlike traditional gaming platforms where a professional team of developers creates the games, Roblox empowers its users to design and build their own games. This has led to a diverse range of experiences, from simple obstacle courses (Obby's) to complex simulators.


2. Social Interaction: Roblox is as much a social platform as it is a gaming one. Users can chat via text and voice (if they're over 13), join groups where they can post messages, and participate in various activities together, fostering a sense of community and collaboration. As of late 2023, 17.3M friendships were formed on Roblox daily.


3. Robux Economy: The platform has its own virtual currency, Robux, which users can earn, purchase, and spend within the ecosystem. This currency can be used to buy in-game items, UGC virtual clothing and accessories for avatars, and access premium content, creating a robust in-game economy. Robux gift cards are highly sought-after presents, especially among young players.


Pricing for Robux and UGC virtual staff.
Robux purchase page on Roblox website.

4. Roblox Everywhere: Roblox supports cross-platform play, meaning users can access the platform from PCs, smartphones, tablets, VR headsets, and consoles such as the Playstation and Xbox. This flexibility enhances its accessibility and appeal to a broad audience.


Roblox is available on a wide variety of devices.


Comparing Roblox to Other Gaming Platforms


To appreciate the unique position of Roblox in the gaming landscape, it’s helpful to compare it with other popular gaming platforms. Let's look at how Roblox stacks up to Minecraft, Fortnite, mobile games, and AAA console games.


Roblox vs. Minecraft


Similarities

- Creative Freedom: Both platforms emphasize creativity and user-generated content. In Minecraft, players build and explore blocky worlds, while Roblox users can create a wide variety of game types.

- Young User Base: Both platforms are popular among younger audiences and are often used as educational tools to teach programming and design principles.


Differences

- Game Variety: Roblox offers a more extensive range of game genres and styles because it provides more advanced development tools. Minecraft primarily revolves around sandbox building and survival modes.

- Monetization: Roblox has a more sophisticated in-game economy with Robux, which users can earn and spend across different games. In contrast, Minecraft has a simpler model with fewer in-game purchases.


Roblox vs. Fortnite


Similarities

- Social Features: Both platforms offer strong social interaction features, including chat, friend lists, and group play.

- Cross-Platform Play: Both support cross-platform play, allowing users to interact and play together regardless of their device.


Differences

- Game Focus: Fortnite is primarily a battle royale game with a strong focus on competitive play and seasonal updates. Through Fortnite Creative mode and Unreal Engine for Fortnite, (UEFN), users can build their own maps in Fortnite. But Fortnite still has a lot of growing up to do as a platform. Roblox, on the other hand, is a platform for a wider array of games, including simulators, tycoons, RPGs, racing, and more.


- Wider Variety of User-Generated Content: While Fortnite offers creative modes for building and custom games, Roblox’s entire ecosystem is built around user-generated content, making it far more diverse in terms of available experiences.


Roblox vs. Mobile Games


Similarities

- Accessibility: Both Roblox and mobile games are easily accessible and can be played on a variety of devices, making them popular among casual gamers.


Differences

- Content Creation: Mobile games are typically developed by professional studios, whereas Roblox’s content is predominantly created by its users.

- Community: Roblox fosters a stronger sense of community through its social features and shared experiences, while mobile games often focus on single-player experiences or limited multiplayer interactions.


Roblox vs. AAA Console Games


Similarities

- High-Quality Experiences: Both platforms can offer high-quality gaming experiences, though the nature and scale of these experiences can differ.


Differences

- Development and Production: AAA games are developed by large studios with significant budgets, resulting in highly polished and graphically intensive games. Roblox games, while diverse and creative, are usually developed by individual users or small teams and may not match the production values of AAA titles.


- Game Length and Depth: AAA games often offer deep, story-driven experiences that can take dozens of hours to complete. Roblox games are generally shorter and more varied, catering to different tastes and interests.


Why Roblox Matters for Brands


Roblox’s unique blend of user-generated content, social interaction, and cross-platform accessibility makes it an attractive platform for brands looking to engage with younger audiences. Here are a few reasons why brands should consider Roblox:


1. Engagement: With over 77 million daily active users spending significant time on the platform (2.5 hours per day), Roblox offers an opportunity for brands to engage with a dedicated audience.


2. Creativity: Usually helped by Roblox developers who work with brands, companies can leverage Roblox’s creative tools to build unique experiences that resonate with users, from branded games to virtual events.


3. Community Building: Roblox’s social features allow brands to foster communities around their products and create lasting relationships with users. One brand that has effectively woven community creators into its experience is Walmart.



As the digital landscape continues to evolve, understanding and leveraging platforms like Roblox will be crucial for brands aiming to stay relevant and build meaningful connections with their audiences.



Stephen Dypiangco is a Roblox marketing and strategy consultant helping entertainment and sports brands enter Roblox.



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