One of the biggest names in social gaming is now officially on the official Quest Store, launching out of App Lab starting today. Roblox is home to tens of millions of daily users and user-generated experiences, casting a clear shadow on Meta’s own social VR platform, Horizon Worlds.
Update (September 27th, 2023): CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Roblox will be available on the official Quest Store starting today, coming out of its two months on App Lab. The company says that you can purchase items within an experience, you won’t be able to buy additional Robux from your Quest device. This functionality is on the way, Meta says. The original article follows below:
Original Article (July 12th, 2023):
A Curious Proposition
Meta confirmed today that Roblox is coming to Quest “in the coming weeks” starting as an Open Beta on App Lab before eventually graduating to a full launch on the main Quest store.
On one hand, the move is a win for Meta. Roblox is one of the most popular social gaming and user-generated content platforms; playing in a similar ballpark with the likes of Minecraft and Fortnite. Getting Roblox onto Quest brings a valuable and recognizable IP to the platform, along with a huge new social graph of non-VR players.
On the other hand, Roblox is very nearly a direct competitor to Meta’s own social VR platform, Horizon Worlds. Both Horizon and Roblox are heavily focused on social experiences and user-generated content. But compared to Horizon, which caters only to the smaller demographic of VR players, Roblox has some 66 million daily active players across Xbox, iOS, Android, desktop—and soon, Quest.
For comparison, that means the number of people playing Roblox every day (66 million) is more than the total number of Quest headsets ever sold (believed to be around 20 million).
So ambitious creators looking to build content for the largest audience (and largest return-on-investment) will see the scale tipped vastly toward Roblox over Horizon.
Whether or not Roblox on Quest will stifle the fledgling Horizon remains to be seen, but needless to say this is an awkward situation. Not just for Meta though; Roblox also represents a looming threat to other social VR applications like VRChat and Rec Room.
Roblox Content Compatibility on Quest
Roblox currently has some 15 million playable experiences for users to choose from, but not all (probably not most) will be suitable to play on Quest.
Meta says the Roblox Open Beta on Quest is a “great opportunity for the Roblox developer community to optimize their existing games for Quest and build new ones for VR while gathering input and feedback from the Quest community.”
That said, Roblox Corp plans to automatically enable VR support for some portion of existing Roblox experiences, though exactly how many is unclear.
“[…] we have automatically updated the Access setting for some of the experiences that use default player scripts to include support for VR devices. We have found that experiences that use default player scripts typically run well in VR without modifications. Automatically publishing these experiences allows us to seed our library of experiences that support VR devices,” the company says in its announcement of Roblox on Quest.
Presently it isn’t clear if or how the company plans to ensure that user-generated Roblox experiences on meet minimum performance expectations on Quest.
Modernized PC VR Support for Roblox
Roblox has offered PC VR support for many years at this point and the company appears committed to continue supporting the platform in addition to Quest.
Less than a month ago Roblox Corp announced that it would adopt OpenXR to future-proof its VR support, including for PC VR headsets. The update also included improvements to correctly synchronizing the player’s VR playspace and scale to that of the current experience.
Additional reporting by Scott Hayden