With its massive global reach and fresh perspective on gameplay, creation, and social connection, Roblox has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the gaming world. For business owners, marketers, content creators, and those wanting to learn from successful business stories, the history of Roblox is a prime example of building a sustainable business model within a dynamic, rapidly changing industry.

At Business2Community, we’ve compiled all there is to know about Roblox’s history, providing you with a comprehensive picture of the platform’s development and key milestones. Keep reading to discover what has propelled Roblox to the forefront of the digital gaming revolution.

A History of Roblox – Key Dates

  • In 2006, Roblox was launched after a 2-year beta phase.
  • The company reported a record-breaking 5.7 million unique visitors and over 650 million monthly page views in 2011.
  • By 2019, Roblox hit 100 million monthly active users, representing a 10x growth rate in 3.5 years.
  • Roblox went public in 2021, listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “RBLX”.
  • In 2023, Roblox delivered its strongest year ever in revenue, bookings, DAUs, and hours engaged.

Who Made Roblox?

Roblox was made by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel in 2004 and officially launched in 2006. The history of Roblox dates back to 1989 when Baszucki and Cassel developed Interactive Physics, a 2D physics and mechanical simulation software that laid the foundation for Roblox. Leaving their positions at Knowledge Revolution behind in 2004, the duo formed Roblox as a playful method of teaching children the basics of game-making.

Who Owns Roblox?

As a public company, Roblox is owned by institutional investors who hold a 56% stake. With a stake of 8.3%, Altos Ventures Management, Inc. is the largest shareholder. Meanwhile, the second and third largest shareholders, hold 8.4% and 7.1%, respectively. David Baszucki, the second-largest shareholder, also holds the title of Chief Executive Officer.

Roblox owners

To minimize the underpricing and dilution of its shares – like what happened to Airbnb and Doordash in late 2020 – Roblox opted for a direct listing route instead of a traditional IPO. It also held a private funding round in January 2021. During this round of funding, shares were sold for $45, valuing the company at $29.5 billion.

On March 10, 2021, the company went public, with shares trading at $64.50 – a 43% increase from the January price. This pushed the game developer’s market cap to a new high of $45.3 billion.

Who is the Roblox CEO?

The CEO of Roblox is Roblox co-founder, entrepreneur, engineer, and inventor David Baszucki. He founded Knowledge Revolution, a leader in educational physics in 1989. A decade later, the company was acquired by MSC Software Corporation for $20 million.

Roblox CEO

Under his leadership, Roblox has generated revenues of over $2.2 billion, increased daily active users (DAUs) by 110% since going public in 2021, and received recognition for its innovation and vision. In the company’s 2023 annual report, Baszucki credits this to:

  • Reinforcing Roblox’s competitive edge.
  • Expanding the leadership team.
  • Investing in critical infrastructure.
  • Empowering the Roblox developer community with new tools and technologies.
  • Unlocking new value through advertising and ecommerce.

In 2023, David Baszucki earned a CEO salary of $0 due to the Founder and CEO Long-Term Performance Award which covered all of his direct compensation. However, before the award was granted in 2021, his annual salary was $800,000.

CEO Compensation

His total compensation for 2023 amounted to $2,136,740, while the median Roblox annual employee salary was around $325,675. This represents a CEO pay ratio of 6.56:1, much lower than 2023’s average ratio of 251:1.

Growth and Development of Roblox

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Roblox operates a free-to-use platform where millions of people gather to create, play, work, learn, and connect through experiences built by a global community of creators.

Roblox Platform

As of 2024, the platform consists of:

  • Roblox Client: The application that allows users to seamlessly explore 3D immersive experiences on iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation, and virtual reality (VR) hardware such as Meta Quest, and VR experiences on PC.
  • Roblox Studio: The free toolset that enables developers and creators to build, publish, and operate 3D experiences and other content accessed through the Roblox Client.
  • Roblox Cloud: Includes the services and infrastructure that power the platform.

Here’s the chronology of how the game developer got to where it is today.

2004-2008: The Foundations of Roblox

Roblox was made in 2004 after David Baszucki and Erik Cassel founded and registered Roblox Corporation. By January 2005, Roblox had raised $560,000 in a Series A funding round. Five months later, on June 25, Roblox’s first official accounts called John Doe and Jane Doe were created and used by administrators as NPCs.

CEO Quote

Throughout 2005 and the first half of 2006, Roblox remained under development. After a 2-year beta phase, Roblox came out on September 1, 2006. By December, the platform hit its first milestone of 10,000 registered users. Roblox also raised $1.1 million through a Series B investment round, securing its future.

2007 brought notable improvements to the platform. Features added included a search bar, private messaging, safe chat with predefined messages for users under the age of 13, tickets, clubs, and character customization options.

In addition, a Roblox premium membership called the Builders Club was released for all users in August, along with Robux replacing “Roblox Points” as the platform’s new currency. The virtual currency allowed players to buy, sell, and create virtual items to personalize their virtual characters or avatars on the platform.

2008-2012: Building a Thriving Community

In January 2008, Roblox raised over $2.9 million through a Series C funding round. This would fund another wave of updates throughout 2008 and 2009. Notably, groups, statuses, feeds, and best friends were added. Other updates included user-made badges, Builders Club members being allowed to join more groups, group searching, owner transferring for groups, and group status updates.

By the start of the early 2010s, Roblox stopped routinely making games because the creator community had grown large and active enough to create most of the content.

On June 14, 2011, Roblox announced that it had raised $4 million in another Series B funding round from existing backers such as ALTOS Ventures and First Round Capital. The momentum continued with Roblox releasing a brand new game GUI and holding its very first convention in San Francisco on August 1, 2011.

Roblox Avatars

Overall, 2011 proved to be a successful year for Roblox. The company reported over 5.7 million unique visitors and over 650 million monthly page views. Kids were also spending over 19 million hours per month on the platform, placing it far ahead of other games at the time.

But that’s not all – subscriptions, sales of in-game virtual currency, advertising, and pre-paid cards sold through retail outlets like Walmart, led to a notable 75% year-over-year increase in revenue. As the year came to an end, Roblox held its inaugural Hack Week – an annual gathering for Roblox developers to work on exciting projects.

2012-2016: Monetization and Market Expansion

In the first half of 2012, Roblox Studio 2.0 Beta was launched. By December, Roblox began supporting mobile devices.

On February 11, 2013 co-founder Erik Cassel passed away. He held the position as VP of engineering within the organization.

Throughout the rest of the year, key monetization features such as in-game item selling, paid access, and the Developer Exchange program were launched. Users could now make money from the games they created, though they only take home about 30% of the earnings that they generate and it set a huge payout minimum of 100,000 Robux.

This program has long been controversial with many critics likening it to child labor. Most of Roblox’s users are children and so are some of the game’s developers. Now that Roblox doesn’t even make any of its games itself anymore, it makes most of its money off of the work of these young workers. The horrible 30% cut developers earn doesn’t exactly help it’s case either.

Roblox kicked off 2014 with a new interface for Roblox Studio in April and ventured into the Android domain on July 16.

Adding to its game development features, Roblox introduced “Smooth Terrain” in May 2015. This feature allowed developers to create realistic-looking terrain, significantly enhancing the appeal of their games.

In yet another notable market move, Roblox crossed over to home consoles. From November 20, 2015, Roblox games could be enjoyed on Xbox One. Roblox staff carefully selected 15 games meeting the Entertainment Software Ratings Board’s standards for its initial offering of titles.

2016-2020: Multi-Platform Expansion and Development

On April 6, 2016, Roblox celebrated its 10th anniversary. That same month, Roblox partnered with Oculus and launched Roblox VR for the Oculus Rift, giving users access to over ten million Roblox games in 3D.

At the end of August 2016, Roblox went down due to DNS issues. Globally, the platform’s website was unavailable for just under 60 hours, making it the longest outage in Roblox history at the time.

By December 2016, Roblox had exceeded 48 million active players and had more than 22 million games and experiences created by over 1.7 million independent game creators. During peak hours, Roblox registered one million concurrent players and saw more than 300 million hours in user engagement and play per month.

Roblox Metrics

In the first quarter of 2017, the company secured $92 million in investment. The investment marked the first equity financing in over five years for Roblox, with funds going toward enhancing the platform’s infrastructure and recruiting top talent. Meritech Capital Partners (investors in Snapchat and Facebook) and Index Ventures (investors in King and Supercell) led the financing.

The rest of 2017 would see Roblox through several server technology upgrades and the end of its official forums. The company also paid out a significant $30 million in yearly developer earnings.

With over 60 million kids playing Roblox every month, the platform ventured into education to impart the technical and entrepreneurial skills needed to build, publish, and market their own creations. In May 2018, the company debuted Roblox Education, an initiative offering a free curriculum for educators, international summer coding camps, and a free online Creator Challenge.

In September 2018, Roblox closed on its largest financing at the time with $150 million in Series F financing led by Greylock Partners, Tiger Global Management, and other existing investors including Altos Ventures, Index Ventures, and Meritech Capital Partners. The company also had plans to transition Roblox from a third-party cloud computing service to a proprietary one and brought Dan Williams of Dropbox on board.

The following month, Roblox acquired PacketZoom, a developer of mobile network optimization software to help improve the performance of its mobile game. It also removed the need to make an account, allowing players to experience its platform as guests.

Roblox Milestone

In August 2019, Roblox hit 100 million monthly active users (over 10x growth in 3.5 years). The next month, Premium rolled out worldwide, marking the end of Builders Club. As more brands recognized the power of digital play, Roblox formed partnerships with media, entertainment, and sports giants like Netflix, WB, Disney, WWE, and Nike throughout 2019.

2020-2024: Expanding Horizons and Mounting Challenges

On February 26, Roblox, now home to over 115 million Gen Z players per month, secured over $150 million in Series G funding. The funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz’s late-stage venture fund and valued the company at $4 billion.

In May 2020 the most popular games on Roblox had over 10 million monthly active players each. By August 2020, at least 20 games had been played more than one billion times, and at least 5,000 had been played more than one million times.

Realizing the need for users to socialize with each other during the pandemic, Roblox announced Party Place in July 2020, an online hangout and private server allowing up to 50 people to gather for a virtual event.

Roblox Partners

In November 2020, Roblox hosted its first virtual concert. The breakout star rapper Lil Nas X had over 33 million views in total across four performances. The next month, the company acquired Loom.ai, allowing Roblox users to create more realistic 3D avatars for gaming, messaging, AR, and VR.

The Roblox community grew from 32.6 million daily active users in 2020 to nearly 50 million across 180 countries in 2021.

Shortly after going public in 2021, Roblox Corporation agreed to settle a $10 million class action lawsuit for not refunding Robux when deleting items. A few months later, the company settled a $200 million copyright lawsuit brought by the National Music Publishers Association for charging users to upload music to the platform.

Between October 28 and 31, 2021, Roblox experienced a major 73-hour outage, the longest in its history.

By November, an average of 49.4 million users logged on to Roblox each day and the platform had welcomed major fashion, sports, and entertainment brands such as Gucci, Nike, and Vans, who took their first steps into digital experiences with Roblox.

By the end of 2021, Roblox had surpassed 3 billion registered users and more than 27 million games and experiences had been published on the platform.

Growth on Roblox

On January 31, 2022, the company reduced the minimum qualifying amount of Robux for the developer exchange program from 100,000 Robux to 50,000 Robux.

Roblox launched its new layered clothing system in April 2022, making major strides in game expression and the future of digital identities. Roblox also hit a significant milestone with more than 90% of items published in Marketplace being user-generated.

That same year, at the biggest Roblox Developers conference in September 2022, Roblox announced immersive 3D ads, enabling brands and developers to reach audiences in new ways.

The “oof” sound was pulled from the Roblox platform and replaced with a new one in July 2022, following a drawn-out copyright dispute with Tommy Tallarico and Joey Kuras, the sound’s original producers.

Overall, in 2022, the Roblox community grew by 23% to more than 56 million daily global users, with users spending over 49.3 billion hours on the platform. Over 50% of Roblox were aged 13 and older, highlighting the platform’s growing appeal with older audiences.

To incentivize developers and creators (and potentially to avoid lawsuits), Roblox reduced the minimum withdrawal requirement from 50,000 Robux to 30,000 Robux in January 2023. In March 2023, Roblox started hiding ads from users under the age of 13 in response to a complaint filed by Truth in Advertising (TINA) with the Federal Trade Commission.

Citing a rapidly growing above-17 age group, Roblox announced that it would be allowing experiences for users 17 and older from June 2023.

In July 2023, it was made public that Roblox had suffered a major data breach. Personal information including the addresses of those who attended the Roblox Developer Conference between 2017 and 2020 were compromised.

It was also revealed that between 2021 and 2023, 34 million credentials from the Roblox gaming platform had been exposed on the dark web, marking a significant 231% increase in cybercriminal activity targeting the platform.

Roblox Metrics

In 2023, Roblox delivered its strongest year ever in revenue, bookings, DAUs, and hours engaged. A staggering 6.8 billion friendships were made on the platform, with 18.6 million new friendships formed daily.

Additionally, over 12,000 developers and creators exchanged their earned Robux for real-world currency through the developer exchange program.

Impressively, for the 3 months ended December 31, 2023, Roblox had:

  • 15.5 billion engagement hours
  • 2.4 million developers
  • 4.4 million active experiences
  • $740 million in developer exchange distributions

As of April 2024, Roblox is worth $22.44 billion, making it one of the top ten most valuable video game companies in the world, with over 71 million people playing Roblox every day.

Throughout the years, the Roblox wordmark logo has evolved to reflect the company’s identity and purpose.

2004-2005: The Multicolor Beta Phase

During its beta phase in 2004, Roblox adopted a simple multicolor Arial typeface logo to depict creativity and fun.

2005-2006: The Signature Red Outline

A year later, Roblox revamped its logo, taking on a futuristic custom font sporting a bold red border and an accent over the first “o” to hint that it was pronounced with a long vowel sound.

Around the time of the game’s official launch in 2006, the logo was refreshed to take on a more playful feel with the addition of a blue and white gradient font. To convey a sense of excitement, the company retained the red outline.

Later in the year, the blue and white gradient font was dropped in favor of a cartoonish white typeface – still outlined in red to evoke a sense of excitement. This version of the logo would see Roblox through a decade of growth, development, and innovation.

Roblox Logos

2017-Present: The Iconic Tilt

When Roblox updated its logo to plain blocky bold red letters in 2017, it also introduced the iconic tilt of the first “o” in Roblox, signifying building, progression, and motion. The red logo was updated to white in November 2018 to better reflect the company’s authority and innovation in the gaming industry.

In 2022, the logo was updated to feature custom letters that were lighter in weight for a more modern aesthetic. The second “o” returned as a letter, to draw more focus to the iconic tilt. Meanwhile, the tilt itself was refined to emphasize its distinct character. In doing so, the company sought to reflect the evolution of its platform.

The Future of Roblox

Roblox’s journey from a platform dedicated to teaching young audiences the basics of game-making to a global gaming phenomenon offers valuable lessons.

  • Leverage user-generated content: Roblox’s growth has been driven primarily by its unique model that encourages users to not only play but also create. This shows the power of a user-generated model for driving sustainable growth and lasting engagement.
  • Build community: Roblox’s massive community has seen it through over 16 years of growth, highlighting the importance of organic community and meeting audiences’ growing desire for safe spaces to connect, play, and learn together.
  • Adapt and innovate: As technology advances, Roblox continues to find new ways to enable connection, self-expression, and collaboration. This underscores the importance of keeping track of and adapting to shifting trends and consumer needs.

As we look to a future shaped by artificial intelligence (AI) and other immersive technologies, Roblox’s history of innovation and its mission to foster meaningful experiences put the company in a lucrative position to shape the evolving landscape of virtual gaming.

FAQs

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