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What lower Netflix pricing tells us about competing in India


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into the Roblox growth strategy”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

Could Roblox create a new entertainment and communication category, something it calls u201chuman co-experienceu201d?n

When it was a small startup, few observers would have believed in that future. But after 15 years u2014 as told in the origin story of our Roblox EC-1 u2014 the company has accumulated 90 million users and a new $150 million venture funding war chest. It has captured the imagination of Americau2019s youth, and become a startup darling in the entertainment space.n

But what, exactly, is human co-experience? Well, it canu2019t be described precisely u2014 because itu2019s still an emerging category. u201cItu2019s almost like that fable where the nine blind men are touching and describing an elephant.n

Everyone has a slightly different view,u201d says co-founder and CEO Dave Baszucki. In Robloxu2019s view, co-experience means immersive environments where users play, explore, talk, hang out, and create an identity thatu2019s as thoroughly fleshed out (if not as fleshy) as their offline, real life.n

But the next decade at Roblox will also be its most challenging time yet, as it seeks to expand from 90 million users to, potentially, a billion or more. To do so, it needs to pull off two coups.n

First, it needs to expand the age range of its players beyond its current tween and teen audience. Second, it must win the international market. Accomplishing both of these will be a puzzle with many moving parts.n

What Roblox is todayn

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One thing Roblox has done very well is appeal to kids within a certain age range. The company says that a majority of all 9-to-12-year-old children in the United States are on its platform.n

Within that youthful segment, Roblox has arguably already created the human co-experience category. Many games are more cooperative than competitive, or have goals that are unclear or donu2019t seem to matter much. One of Robloxu2019s most popular games, for instance, is MeepCity, where players can run around and chat in virtual environments like a high school without necessarily interacting with the game mechanics at all.n

What else separates these environments from what you can see today on, say, the App Store or Steam? A few characteristics seem common.n

For one, the environments look rough. One Robloxian put the companyu2019s relaxed attitude toward looks as u201cnot over-indexing on visual fidelity.u201dn

Roblox games also ignore the design principles now espoused by nearly every game company. Tutorials are infrequent, user interfaces are unpolished, and one gets the sense that KPIs like retention and engagement are not being carefully measured.n

Thatu2019s similar to how games on platforms like Facebook and the App Store started out, so it seems reasonable to say Roblox is just in a similarly early stage. It is u2014 but itu2019s also competing directly with mobile games that are more rigorously designed. Over half of its players are on smartphones, where they could have chosen a free game that looks more polished, like Fortnite or Clash of Clans.n

The more accurate explanation of why Roblox draws big player numbers is that thereu2019s a gap in the kids entertainment market. So far, only Roblox fills that gap, despite its various shortcomings.n

u201cThe amount of unstructured, undirected play has been declining for decades. [Kids] have much more homework, and structured activities like theater after school.n

One of the big unmet needs we solve is to give kids a place to have imagination,u201d explains Craig Donato, Robloxu2019s chief business officer. u201cIf you play the experiences on our platform, you’re not playing to win. You go into these worlds with people you know and share an experience.u201dn

Games like The Sims tried to do the same, but eventually faded in the childrenu2019s demo. Robloxu2019s trick has been continued growth: it provides kids with an endless array of games that unlock their imagination. But just like we donu2019t expect adults to have fun with Barbie dolls, itu2019s unlikely most adults would enjoy Roblox games.n

Of course, it would be easy to point at Roblox and laugh off its ambitions to win over people of all ages. That laughter would also be short-sighted.n

As David Sze, the Greylock Partners investor who led Robloxu2019s most recent round, pointed out: u201cWhen we invested in Facebook there was a huge amount of pushback that nobody would use it outside college.u201d Companies that have won over one demographic have a good chance of winning others.n

Roblox has also proven its ability to evolve. At one time, the platformu2019s players were 90 percent male. Now, thatu2019s down to about 60 percent. Roblox now has far more girls playing than the typical game platform.n

Evolving to new demographicsn



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I'm a 50 year old PLC programmer from Burnley, UK. I severed my time as an electrician in the baking industry and soon got involved with the up and coming technology of PLC's. Initially this was all based in the Uk but as the years went by I have gradually worked my way around the globe. At first it was mainly Mitsubishi with a bit of Modicon thrown in but these days the industry leaders seem to be the Allen Bradley range of PLC and HMI’s.

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