The role of Roblox in the metaverse

For Roblox, the ‘metaverse’ is about people connecting and sharing positive experiences in immersive spaces. Laura Higgins, Director of Community Safety and Civility at Roblox, shares how the platform currently fits into the metaverse.

The origin of the metaverse

You’re probably familiar with Roblox, a platform where you can join millions of 3D, immersive experiences created by our community. Roblox was envisioned as a space where billions of people could come together with civility and optimism. These people would create, make friendships and share experiences with their friends.

The metaverse is not a new concept. It has been around since the early 1990s, discussed by technologists and futurists. Most famously, it was used as a term by Neal Stephenson in his novel ‘Snow Crash’. It is a concept we are now more familiar with as popular culture has picked up in different variances; the book and film ‘Ready Player One’ is a great example. There is, however, still much confusion about what the metaverse actually is.

The future of online experiences

People use terms like ‘NFTs’, ‘blockchain’ and ‘Web 3.0’. These represent different technologies, which are all potential directions for the future of the internet. Time will show whether these become connected to the metaverse. However, the metaverse is more about how people will experience the future Internet. In our vision, this future is about people sharing immersive experiences with others and building connections.

Our founder Dave Baszucki (aka Builderman) often refers to this new category – a combination of real-time communication and storytelling — as ‘human co-experience,’ which sums it up fairly simply.

What is the metaverse? document

Virtual and augmented reality in the metaverse

Some metaverse apps are solely created with virtual reality in mind. However, this isn’t the only thing that makes people’s shared experiences immersive. People can feel like they are really ‘there’ even without expensive hardware. We often hear from our community members how they “went to a concert” or “walked a fashion show,” and those are memorable experiences for them. In effect, they really felt immersed and shared that feeling with friends.

The metaverse for us is a social place where people can create, shop, work, play, hang out and enjoy realistic entertainment experiences. Essentially, they should feel similar to those you might attend in the ‘real world’.

While some people do use VR (virtual reality) or AR (augmented reality) technology to make the environment feel more ‘real’, these technologies are not suitable for all users of online spaces. This is especially true for younger children and those with some neurodiverse conditions. Furthermore, some people just don’t like wearing a headset to hang out with their friends. That’s why we want to make sure that experiences on Roblox are accessible to everyone across many devices while still offering the immersive and fun social aspects.

What makes Roblox metaverse different?

A difference between some early metaverse platforms and Roblox is the ability to take your avatar with you across different experiences. Roblox is home to millions of different experiences in itself. You can play a game, hang out with friends, watch a concert and go shopping all in one sitting. Even more engaging is the ability to do so as your virtual avatar, moving seamlessly from place to place.

We focus on keeping these spaces safe and civil so the community’s experience is a positive one. Furthermore, we continue innovating and evolving our systems to ensure our community members can connect, create and come together in welcoming, safe, inclusive and respectful space.

Kids and teens may use other metaverse spaces with different rules and standards. Therefore, it’s important for parents to familiarise themselves with their features. Additionally, parents and carers should make sure these other spaces are appropriate for children.

Creating the metaverse with the community

There are two things that really distinguish Roblox: our focus on creativity and civility. We believe that the metaverse needs to be co-created with the community it serves. Our core philosophy is that everyone can be a creator, and anyone who wants to participate in the metaverse can do so. As such, we provide tools and technology to make it easy.

Safety and civility are the foundation of everything we do. Metaverse spaces must be welcoming to all, providing a safe and healthy place for the community. We’ve built a platform with industry-leading safety and civility features. Furthermore, we constantly innovate on this as our community grows and evolves.

The metaverse brings exciting opportunities for creativity to thrive. With the right tools, it can also provide civil, fun and safe places for people to socialize, create and learn from each other.

Parent's guide to Roblox document
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