ROBLOX was one of the first platforms to embrace the concept of user-created virtual reality (VR). The introduction of VR to ROBLOX in 2016 came as something of a surprise to many, but the response from its users was largely positive. The ROBLOX user base tends to skew younger, which of course if where the next generation of creators and innovators will come from.
Claus Moberg, Senior Director of Engineer at ROBLOX has led the push for VR in ROBLOX, and has spoken to VRFocus about the pitfalls, challenges and rewards of introducing VR into ROBLOX, and what that might mean for the future of the title.
VRFocus: ROBLOX’s VR compatibility launched back in 2016. How has it progressed since its debut?
Claus Moberg [CM]: We have recently shipped a new control and camera scheme, called “Comfort Cam”, that dramatically reduces simulation sickness in the majority of our VR-compatible content. Player count is roughly steady, averaging about 10,000 plays per week.
VRFocus: At launch there was an issue with appropriate content – much of what players were creating for VR was not suitable due to simulation sickness issues – how have you combated this?
CM: We developed Comfort Cam to address this very issue.
VRFocus: Do you offer different tools for VR content creation opposed to standard monitor-based experiences?
CM: Roblox Studio is capable of launching play tests in a VR HMD, and, in the near future, we will launch a UI editor with emulation modes for VR.
VRFocus: Originally ROBLOX was only compatible with Oculus Rift, have you added additional HMD compatibility?
CM: We are compatible with Rift and HTC Vive HMDs.
VRFocus: Are there plans for a PlayStation 4/PlayStation VR port?
CM: No comment.
VRFocus: What kind of adoption rate are you seeing for ROBLOX players in VR?
CM: We see an average of 10K play sessions per week. This makes us one of the most popular MMO VR gaming platforms, though it constitutes a very small percentage of Roblox’s user base.
VRFocus: How integral has VR compatibility become for ROBLOX’s future plans?
CM: It is important because it helps us future-proof our developer-facing APIs and camera/control scripts to be more adaptable to any future game content consumption platform that may come down the pike.
VRFocus: What lies ahead for ROBLOX’s VR compatibility in 2018?
CM: We will continue to push new features and optimizations for our VR users and creators.