Roblox to Launch its Gaming Metaverse on PlayStation, Adds New AI Tools

Roblox to Launch its Gaming Metaverse on PlayStation, Adds New AI Tools

Roblox announced plans to launch its gaming metaverse on Sony’s PlayStation consoles in October. At its 2023 Roblox Developers Conference (RDC) on Sept. 8, the company also said that it will make its app fully available on Meta’s Quest mixed reality (MR) headsets.

Roblox, with 66 million players a day, is already available on a number of platforms, including Xbox, Android, Mac, and PC. But its integration with PlayStation is considered one of its most strategic plays, giving the company access to hundreds of millions of new users.

Roblox to Launch its Gaming Metaverse on PlayStation, Adds New AI Tools

Making Roblox available ‘anywhere’

The app will be available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 starting in October. During the San Francisco annual developer conference, Roblox also revealed that its application will be “widely available” to people using Meta’s Quest range of MR headsets later in September.

More than one million people downloaded the Roblox app in open beta in the first five days after it was released to players on Quest 2 and Quest Pro headsets in July. Roblox is also upgrading the Xbox app with an “improved user experience” and “frequent updates”.

Also read: Meta Touts Metaverse Reality as Apple Prepares Vision Pro VR Headset

Meta Platforms’ equivalent of Roblox, the Horizon Worlds metaverse, which allows people to connect online using avatars, has struggled to grow its user base. The platform had about 200,000 monthly users at the end of last year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Earlier, Roblox chief product officer Manuel Bronstein told Reuters that the expansion is part of efforts to make the company’s immersive virtual worlds platform available “anywhere users are trying to use it,” including mobile, desktop, virtual, and augmented reality gadgets.

Bronstein later explained in a blog post that PlayStation users will be able to “access the full catalog of Roblox experiences”. He added that this was “a significant step” towards making the gaming and social applications “available on all of the most popular devices.”

What is Roblox?

Founded in 2004 by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel, Roblox is an online gaming company that allows players to create their own games within it and to play games created by other users. Roblox refers to the players as developers, which is one of the things that has made it popular with users.

Roblox’s “developers” can even earn in-game currency called Roblux from other players. In the 12 months ended June 2023, Roblox creators earned around $680 million, making it one of the biggest virtual economies, according to the company.

The game enjoys a cult following among teenagers and children under 17, according to some surveys. In 2020, Bloomberg reported that 66% of all children in the U.S. between the ages of 9 and 12 played the game. In the UK, a survey of 400,000 kids revealed that 67% played the game the same year.

While Roblox has won praise for introducing children to creative designs at an early age, it has also come under increasing regulatory scrutiny, the BBC reports. Since the pandemic, the number of children calling for help with complaints about Roblox has risen by 500%, it said.

Roblox to Launch its Gaming Metaverse on PlayStation, Adds New AI Tools
Roblox Connect. Image credits: Roblox

AI world-building tools

In its blog post, Roblox announced that it will be rolling out an AI-powered world-building chatbot later this year. The conversational AI will be available in Roblox Studio and Creator Hub “to help creators learn, code, and build more effectively,” it said.

Roblox also unveiled Connect, a system that will enable people to call other people within the game using their real names, body language, and facial expressions.

“We’re essentially packaging a Hollywood-style motion capture studio into something that runs on a mobile phone or laptop—without the need for equipment or motion-tracking dots,” said Bronstein, the Roblox chief product officer.

“The device’s camera is all that’s needed to capture motion and translate it in real time.”

The company said it will open source Roblox Connect, which has been built using public platform APIs. Roblox first unveiled a version of its motion-capture technology in August, but Connect is the company’s first attempt to pair up the tech with calling friends.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.