2021 in retrospect – a letter from our CEO

It’s been an extraordinary year for our global Roblox community of users, developers, and employees. We continue to advance our technology to enable deeper forms of communication, immersion and expression that align with our vision to reimagine the way people come together.We listed Roblox on the NYSE and hosted our first investor day. We are also privileged to bring our community of creators together at our annual events, both in-person and virtual Roblox Developer Conference.

Group photo at Roblox Developer Conference 2021

When Erik Cassel and I started Roblox, we envisioned a new category of human co-experiences where people can play, learn and collaborate in a digital world. Seventeen years later, Roblox is increasingly an integral part of people’s lives. With tens of millions of daily active users and billions of monthly engagement hours, we’re on track to connect 1 billion people on our platform.

Our creator community of millions of developers is also growing and innovating. They are leveraging our latest technology to build more immersive experiences that push the boundaries of what we can imagine. Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, we plan to continue developing technologies to empower this community.

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The future of Roblox communications

As we continue to build technology that can reproduce the real world look and feel At Roblox, we’re making key technological advancements to simulate real-world sound. All of this results in a richer, more realistic experience. An example of a limited release right now is Spatial Voice, our proximity-based voice chat system that allows people with the same experience to communicate as naturally as they would face-to-face. The closer you get to someone, the louder they get; the farther you go, the quieter they get. Our vision is to seamlessly and realistically reproduce the dynamics of the real world, where you can approach friends at a party and talk to them, then walk up to other people and start a different conversation. We believe Spatial Voice will enhance existing experiences and enable new types of experiences on Roblox where people can engage in 3D spaces more naturally.

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Civility and safety remain our top priorities as we expand the way people communicate on Roblox. We launched an age-verified system to help us learn and iterate as we develop age-appropriate features, and we already have millions of age-verified accounts. As Roblox continues to grow and develop, we are committed to learning, adapting, and expanding the capabilities of our tools to foster civilized and safe communities.

Empowering our creator community

Our goal is to build the necessary infrastructure and technology for developers to create the best digital experiences in the world. Today, any developer can use our API key-based authentication and authorization system to push files to the Roblox cloud, increasing workflow efficiency. We’ve also upgraded the engine to enable physically-based rendering and improved visual fidelity to help developers reach new audiences. We’ve also expanded machine translation technology, removing key barriers between developers and our increasingly global community.

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Also in 2021, we’re giving developers early access to technology to create layered clothing options and facial animations for avatars. These new tools will ultimately allow people to express their identities in more ways than ever before. Developers are already exploring their potential for greater creative expression. We’re opening up more types of user-generated content to more creators. I look forward to seeing the combination of these new capabilities explode on our platform.

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Through each of these technological innovations, creators in our community are responsive and innovative. For example, Dragon Blade, an open-world role-playing experience that uses skinned meshes and procedurally generated terrain heightmaps to create a beautifully immersive world. We also saw a lot of experience testing the possibilities of Spatial Voice. Seeing our community adopt these technologies helps us dream big and focus on what to build next.

Expanding digital opportunities for brands and musicians

Brands and musicians are embracing the power to connect and engage with their communities and fans in 3D immersive shared experiences. In 2021, we welcome brands from fashion, sports and entertainment, including Gucci, nike, and truck, they took their first steps in a digital experience with Roblox.Likewise, artists such as KSI, This is Cape Verde, twenty one pilots, and Zara Larson Bring their performances and music directly to fans in an immersive and interactive experience.

All told, some of these brands and musicians logged more than a million hours of engagement during their events, and virtual goods sold millions of dollars. Witnessing the way these partners meet users through unique experiences, creativity, and innovation is incredible, and I know we’re all looking forward to seeing what they’ll bring in 2022.

Roblox Partners

Inspiring the next generation of creators

We have always believed in the power of Roblox as a teaching tool. Today, students from over 70 countries are using Roblox Studio to learn technical skills. Plus, learning on Roblox is now more accessible than ever.our Learn and Explore Sort attracts over 7 million monthly visitors, and our new Classroom Mode plugin helps developers give educators the tools to manage their courses within the Roblox experience.We also launched the Roblox Community Fund, a $10 million fund to support the development of high-quality educational content on the platform, starting with our initial grantees first, Project leads the way, and Boston Museum of Science, in partnership with the developer studio Filament Games and Formen.

Growing the Roblox Team

As in any year, many of our leaps in 2021 would not have been possible without the people at Roblox.We added hundreds of talented employees to our team and saw new leaders join us, including Chief Product Officer Manuel Bronstein and Chief Scientist Morgan McGuire. We also welcomed the teams at Guilded, Sway and Bash Video through acquisitions.

Every day, I feel lucky to be surrounded by people who share our values: “Respect for the Community,” “Looking Forward,” “Taking Responsibility,” and “Getting Things Done.” This was most evident in our response to the challenges we faced during the power outage in late October. Our entire team has worked around the clock to restore service, treating each other with civility, kindness and respect every step of the way. It’s a testament to the resilience of our team and how we come together in a positive way to learn, grow and achieve great things. Our engineering team shared a comprehensive analysis of the outage and our lessons learned in a blog post.

Looking forward to 2022

Our society is in the midst of technological change that will change the way we live, work and communicate. As the lines between our physical and digital lives continue to blur, Roblox is uniquely positioned to innovate. So as we enter the new year, we will continue to develop new technologies to help people connect virtually in a safe and civilized way. We’ll continue to support creators around the world, giving them the tools they need to build the experiences they’ve always dreamed of.

I want to thank everyone – our staff, board and community – for your support and everything you’ve done to make these achievements possible. We have a lot to look forward to.

I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

David Baszucki, aka Builderman

Founder and CEO of Roblox