Since its launch in 2006, Roblox transformed from a video game into a metaverse platform, gradually adding in features such as layered clothing to bring its virtual environment closer to the physical world. These features have made the platform a playground for user-generated content creators, who have used Roblox to build their own businesses, forming a vibrant creator economy.
While there are plenty of opportunities for brands to reach consumers in Roblox, the majority of those consumers are children. Roughly half of Roblox users are under 13 years old, according to Roblox Chief Business Officer Craig Donato, who added that 17 to 24-year-olds are the platform’s fastest-growing cohort. And though children certainly have money to spend in the metaverse, the question remains how frequently under-13 users actually participate in branded experiences — and how willing they are to participate in the ensuing value exchange.
To learn more about this key cohort of Roblox players, Digiday enlisted the help of Tara Weiss, a senior reporter at our sister publication WorkLife, who put us in touch with her 10-year-old daughter, Mia Bronstein. Mia is a Roblox power user; every day after school, she uses the platform to play with other members of her 25-person Roblox group chat, called the Swag Squad.
According to Mia, Roblox is “an online app on your device, where you can join a game and play with all your friends. And you can chat with them in the game, and there’s a lot of games that you can play on it.” During the interview, she and her friends played three games in Roblox: Brookhaven RP (a role-playing life simulator), Super Golf and the cops-and-robbers game Flee the Facility.
Here are some of the key takeaways from Digiday’s conversation with Mia and fellow Roblox enthusiasts, named Andrew and Julie, in the Swag Squad.
Kids aren’t using Roblox to mirror their appearances and personalities in the physical world — they’re using it to experiment with new looks and identities
Digiday: Would you wear this outfit in real life?
Digiday: Why not?
Mia: In Roblox, it doesn’t really matter, because no one’s going to get you in trouble for wearing something like this. Also, in Roblox, the weather doesn’t matter, and in real life, you have to wear something that fits the weather. On Roblox, I kind of just wear what’s available, and that’s kind of cute, that I personally wouldn’t wear in real life because I want to try something else out. Like, I don’t have blonde hair in real life, but in Roblox I put on blonde hair. And I wear jeans in Roblox, but I don’t really wear jeans in real life.
Digiday: Are your friends in real life any different in Roblox? Do you act differently with your friends in Roblox?
Mia: Some people act different on it. Someone in real life, she’s very nice and very decisive, but in Roblox, she’s kind of indecisive. There’s different versions of me being shy. Because in school, I’m kind of shy, but on Roblox, not really. So, in Roblox, it kind of shows who you are. My friend from third grade, she wears really cool outfits that are really colorful [in real life], but in Roblox, she just wears ripped jeans and a cute shirt. So it kind of shows the different side of you.
Kids enjoy branded Roblox experiences as long as they are genuinely engaging
Digiday: Would you want your favorite movie to show up inside Roblox? Is that something you care about?
Andrew: Well, they are doing something really special — they’re doing the Kid’s Choice Awards here. And there are also concerts!
Mia: Yeah, there was a Lil Nas X concert — it was live, but you could also watch it later. There was a whole server about that. [The server is a computer that coordinates with all participants in a virtual space to ensure their experiences line up.]
Andrew: That was a nice concert — I would definitely like to do another one there. They had a lot of really cool stuff. Turns out it was actually Lil Nas X dancing at the concert. He had this suit on! I also went to a Chipotle thing.
Mia: The Chipotle thing shut down the whole server.
Andrew: Because so many people wanted a free burrito. So 14 million people joined, and all of Roblox got shut down for three days!
Mia: Everyone was playing this online game that Andrew found, but it just wasn’t as good as Roblox. And when it finally turned on, we were all trying to log into our accounts that day, and it didn’t work.
Of the Swag Squad members present for the interview — Mia in person, the others through a Zoom call — the overwhelming majority used iPads to play Roblox; only one used a more traditional laptop computer during the session.
Digiday: Why do you prefer to use the iPad?
Mia: Because a computer is more complicated. With an iPad, you can zoom in and out easier.
Andrew: It’s the best way.
Mia: When I used the computer [to play Roblox] for the first time, it was pretty hard, because there’s so much more buttons, like ‘W’ to walk. And if you go backward, it’s a whole different thing than just going on an iPad and controlling it through your screen.
Kids are down to spend money in Roblox, and most likely to spend their ‘Robux’ on items or features that change their visual identities
Digiday: How often do you spend Robux on things, and what do you spend it on?
Mia: Usually, I spend Robux on my avatar, because avatars are cool, and they cost a lot of money. So first, I go to the avatars, and then I join games, and I buy stuff in the games. [Robux are priced on a sliding scale and typically go for about 80 a dollar, with the prices of in-game items varying wildly based on their creators’ preferences.]
Digiday: What kind of stuff do you normally buy inside the games?
Mia: Special colors! In [Super Golf], there’s different colors you can choose, and some of them are for Robux. And then there’s premium accounts in games like Brookhaven. There’s premium in just Roblox, where there’s a special game pass in every game. Does anyone have premium in just Roblox?
Julie: I do.
Mia: Julie does. So, Julie gets special things. There’s a game called Club Roblox where she gets a special portal.
Digiday: How hard is it to get your parents to buy Robux for you?
Mia: I use my money and give it to them. Usually, I walk the dog, or I just get some from my grandfather.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed kids to spend more time on Roblox
Mia: During the pandemic, we couldn’t really go outside to the park. So when we called our friends and played Roblox, it was kind of a way of connecting, because some of the people in the group chat, I personally know them best after I played Roblox with them. I kind of knew their style, because of the stuff they chose to do in the games. So now I know them much better.
Digiday: So Roblox made you more friends.
Mia: Yeah, mainly connecting with more people. During the pandemic, it was kind of hard, because we didn’t get to see our friends in person. But everyone had an iPad at that time, so we all said to each other, hey, can we get your Gmail? Then, a few months later, we found Roblox, and everyone just got addicted to it.
Kids don’t see themselves playing Roblox for the rest of their lives… yet
Digiday: Do you think you’ll be using Roblox for the rest of your life?
Mia: Um, no. Because if I grow up, I want to be a veterinarian, and then I don’t think I’m going to have time to play Roblox.
AMD CEO says 5-nm Zen 4 processors coming this fall
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Advanced Micro Devices revealed its 5-nanometer Zen 4 processor architecture today at the Computex 2022 event in Taiwan.
The new AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors with Zen 4 cores will be coming this fall, said Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, in a keynote speech.
Su said the new processors with Zen 4 architecture will deliver a significant increase in performance upon their launch in the fall of 2022. Additionally, Su highlighted the strong growth and momentum for AMD in the mobile market as 70 of the more than 200 expected ultrathin, gaming and commercial notebook designs powered by Ryzen 6000 Series processors have been launched or announced to-date.
In addition, other AMD executives announced the newest addition to the Ryzen Mobile lineup, “Mendocino;” the newest AMD smart technology, SmartAccess Storage; and more details of the new AM5 platform, including support from leading motherboard manufacturers.
“At Computex 2022 we highlighted growing adoption of AMD in ultrathin, gaming, and commercial notebooks from the leading PC providers based on the leadership performance and battery life of our Ryzen 6000 series mobile processors,” said Su. “With our upcoming AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors, we will bring even more leadership to the desktop market with our next-generation 5-nm Zen 4 architecture and provide an unparalleled, high-
performance computing experience for gamers and creators.”
AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors
The new Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors will double the amount of L2 cache per core, feature higher clock speeds, and are projected to provide greater than 15% uplift in single-thread performance versus the prior generation, for a better desktop PC experience.
During the keynote, a pre-production Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processor was demonstrated running at 5.5 GHz clock speed throughout AAA game play. The same processor was also demonstrated performing more than 30% faster than an Intel Core i9 12900K in a Blender multi-threaded rendering workload.
In addition to new “Zen 4” compute dies, the Ryzen 7000 series features an all-new 6nm I/O die. The new I/O die includes AMD RDNA 2-based graphics engine, a new low-power architecture adopted from AMD Ryzen mobile processors, support for the latest memory and connectivity technologies like DDR5 and PCI Express 5.0, and support for up to four displays.
AMD Socket AM5 Platform
The new AMD Socket AM5 platform provides advanced connectivity for our most demanding enthusiasts. This new socket features a 1718-pin LGA design with support for up to 170W TDP processors, dual-channel DDR5 memory, and new SVI3 power infrastructure for leading all-core performance with our Ryzen 7000 Series processors. AMD Socket AM5 features the most PCIe 5.0 lanes in the industry with up to 24 lanes, making it our fastest, largest, and most expansive desktop platform with support for the next-generation and beyond class of storage and graphics cards.
And AMD said the “Mendocino” processors will offer great everyday performance and are expected to be priced from $400 to $700.
Featuring “Zen 2” cores and RDNA 2 architecture-based graphics, the processors are designed to deliver the best battery life and performance in the price band so users can get the most out of their laptop at an attractive price.
The first systems featuring the new “Mendocino” processors will be available from computer partners in Q4 2022.
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AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop chips are coming this fall with 5nm Zen 4 cores
AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7000 chips will mark another major milestone for the company: they’ll be the first desktop processors running 5 nanometer cores. During her Computex keynote presentation today, AMD CEO Lisa Su confirmed that Ryzen 7000 chips will launch this fall. Under the hood, they’ll feature dual 5nm Zen 4 cores, as well as a redesigned 6nm I/O core (which includes RDNA2 graphics, DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 controllers and a low-power architecture). Earlier this month, the company teased its plans for high-end “Dragon Range” Ryzen 7000 laptop chips, which are expected to launch in 2023.
Since this is just a Computex glimpse, AMD isn’t giving us many other details about the Ryzen 7000 yet. The company says it will offer a 15 percent performance jump in Cinebench’s single-threaded benchmark compared to the Ryzen 5950X. Still, it’d be more interesting to hear about multi-threaded performance, especially given the progress Intel has made with its 12th-gen CPUs. You can expect 1MB of L2 cache per core, as well as maximum boost speeds beyond 5GHz and better hardware acceleration for AI tasks.
AMD is also debuting Socket AM5 motherboards alongside its new flagship processor. The company is moving towards a 1718-pin LGA socket, but it will still support AM4 coolers. That’s a big deal if you’ve already invested a ton into your cooling setup. The new motherboards will offer up to 24 channels of PCIe 5.0 split across storage and graphics, up to 14 USB SuperSpeed ports running at 20 Gbps, and up to 4 HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2 ports. You’ll find them in three different flavors: B650 for mainstream systems, X650 for enthusiasts who want PCIe 5.0 for storage and graphics and X650 Extreme for the most demanding folks.
Given that Intel still won’t have a 7nm desktop chip until next year (barring any additional delays), AMD seems poised to once again take the performance lead for another generation. But given just how well Intel’s hybrid process for its 12th-gen chips has worked out, it’ll be interesting to see how it plans to respond. If anything, it sure is nice to see genuine competition in the CPU space again.
While Ryzen 7000 will be AMD’s main focus for the rest of the year, the company is also throwing a bone to mainstream laptops in the fourth quarter with its upcoming 6nm “Mendocino” CPUs. They’ll sport four 6nm Zen 2 cores, as well as RDNA 2 graphics, making them ideal for systems priced between $399 and $699. Sure, that’s not much to get excited about, but even basic machines like Lenovo’s Ideapad 1 deserve decent performance. And for many office drones, it could mean having work-issued machines that finally don’t stink.
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Disney’s Disney+ ad pitch reflects how streaming ad prices set to rise in this year’s upfront
With Disney+, Disney is looking to set a new high-water mark for ad prices among the major ad-supported streamers. The pricey pitch is representative of a broader rising tide in streaming ad pricing in this year’s TV advertising upfront market, as Disney-owned Hulu, Amazon and even Fox’s Tubi are looking to press upfront advertisers to pay up.
In its initial pitch to advertisers and their agencies, Disney is seeking CPMs for Disney+ around $50, according to agency executives. That price point applies to broad-based targeting dubbed “P2+,” which refers to an audience of any viewer who is two years old or older (though Disney has told agency executives that programming aimed at viewers seven years old and younger will be excluded from carrying ads). In other words, more narrowly targeted ads are expected to cost more based on the level of targeting. A Disney spokesperson declined to comment.
At a $50 CPM, Disney+ is surpassing the prices that NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max sought in last year’s upfront market and that gave ad buyers sticker shock. The former sought CPMs in the $30 to $40 range, while the latter sought $40+ CPMs. By comparison, other major ad-supported streamers like Hulu, Discovery+ and Paramount+ were charging low-to-mid $20 CPMs that major ad-supported streamers charge. As a result, Peacock’s and HBO Max’s asks ended up being price prohibitive, with some advertisers limiting the amount of money they spent with the streamers because of their higher rates.
Unsurprisingly, agency executives are balking at Disney+’s price point. “They’re citing pricing that no longer exists, meaning Peacock and HBO Max recognized they came out too high and they’re reducing it. Disney+ is using earmuffs to pretend that second part didn’t happen,” said one agency executive.
However, Disney+ isn’t the only streamer seeking to raise the rates that ad buyers are accustomed to paying. Hulu is also seeking to increase its prices in this year’s upfront, with P2+ pricing going from a $20-$25 CPM average to averaging in the $25-$30 CPM range, according to agency executives. And during a call with reporters on May 16, Fox advertising sales president Marianne Gambelli said that the company will seek higher prices for its free, ad-supported streaming TV service Tubi in this year’s upfront market. It’s unclear what Tubi’s current rates are, but FAST services’ CPMS are typically in the low to mid teens, said the agency executives.
“We have to get the value for Tubi. Tubi has grown to a point — it’s doubled, tripled in size over the past couple of years. So we are going to obviously make that a priority and look for not only more volume but price,” Gambelli said.
Meanwhile, in pitching its Thursday Night Football package that will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, Amazon has been pressing for a premium on what Fox charged advertisers last year, according to agency executives. The e-commerce giant will be handling the games’ ad placements like traditional TV, meaning that it will run the same ad in each ad slot for every viewer as opposed to dynamically inserting targeted ads. “It’s streaming broadcast,” said a second agency executive.
An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on pricing but did provide a general statement. “Thursday Night Football on Prime Video and Twitch is a purely digital broadcast, and we’re excited to bring fans a new viewing experience. There are 80MM active Prime Video households in the U.S. and, in a survey of our 2021 TNF audience, 38% reported they don’t have a pay-TV service – meaning TNF on Prime Video and Twitch enables brands to connect with cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Brands can also reach these viewers beyond TNF. Our first-party insights enable them to reengage TNF audiences across Amazon, such as in Freevee content.”
One of the agency executives that Digiday spoke to said the latest ask is for a plus-10% increase on Fox’s rates, though what Fox’s rates were are unclear and other agency executives said the premium that Amazon is asking for varies. Ad Age reported in February that Amazon was seeking up to 20% higher prices than Fox’s rates. “I don’t know if it is consistently plus-10, but it is definitely more. Which is crazy because Fox couldn’t make money on it, which is why they gave it up for this fall,” said a second agency executive.
“Someone was eating way too many gummies before they put the pricing together,” said a second agency executive of Amazon’s Thursday Night Football pitch.
Ad-supported streaming service owners also see an opportunity to push for higher prices as advertisers to adopt more advanced targeting with their streaming campaigns, such as by using the media companies’ and/or advertisers’ first-party data to aim their ads on the streamers.
Said one TV network executive, “You’ll see premiums, especially as it relates to advertisers that really want to hook into [their company’s streaming service] and buy those targeted audiences across the platform and either use [the TV network’s] first-party data or bring their own data to the table. That’s the biggest business we’re in, and that’s where we see great growth from a pricing standpoint.”
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