Virtual reality is all about letting users get immersed in worlds that have never been seen before, but they are usually worlds someone else has created. Today, users can start creating their own VR worlds without knowing much about game design thanks to Roblox.
The user-generated game platform is coming to the Oculus Rift, bringing its 20 million monthly players along with it. The new platform joins desktop and mobile, as well as the Xbox One, for which Roblox added support earlier this year.
“With VR, we have this same vision, which is create this ultimate platform for sharing your imagination,” Roblox CEO David Baszucki said. “Our huge community of 300,000 developers creates awesome content that’s immersive, that’s social. Although now, instead of accessing it in your living room with your controller, you literally can jump into this content.”
The company’s “publish once, play anywhere” platform means that the library of available games starts with 15 million titles. Users can jump into the body of a bird with Bird Simulator or play a traditional first-person shooter with friends. There are also social experiences, letting people get together in virtual space, now with immersive VR.
In fact, Roblox is beating Oculus owner Facebook to the social VR experience. The social network is just in the earliest phases of developing VR experiences that you can visit with friends. Because Roblox lets players across platforms play together online, VR early adopters won’t be hanging out in empty virtual rooms — they’ll be accompanied by all those existing Roblox users.
But VR can be tricky, with some users getting motion sickness from images that don’t line up with what their eyes are expecting to see. Roblox solved this by reducing acceleration in jumps and falls to make images easier on the eyes and the brain. The company also allows users to play games in third person on VR, which can help in keeping your bearings.
Roblox on the Oculus Rift means users can create new VR experiences as well. As more and more users join the platform’s 3D virtual space, creators may look to put more detail into creating worlds, adding more in-depth gameplay that takes advantage of all the the RIft offers. And they can also make money on VR with Roblox’s monetization features.
“We’re so early in VR right now, a lot of the talk is around the hardware, and what platform is it going to be on?” Baszucki said. “Over time, as the market matures, content is going to become more and more important.”
The company, based in San Mateo, Calif., is working on supporting other VR headsets in the future, as well.