Roblox returns for many gamers after long outage


Roblox is a free online website and app with millions of videogames and other entertainment experiences, all of which are made by its own users instead of the company.

In August, Roblox had more than 48 million users who spent 4 billion hours on it, according to internal metrics. The platform is particularly popular with preteens.

As of Sunday afternoon, some users said they were able to get back on the platform.

On Sunday evening the company tweeted: “Roblox is back online everywhere! Thank you for your continued patience as we get back to normal.”

Late Sunday night, a Roblox spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the platform was back up and that the outage had involved “growth in the number of servers” in the company’s data centers.

“We are sorry for the length of time it took us to restore service, and are deeply grateful for the patience and support of Roblox’ player, developer, and partner community,” the statement said.

The outage began as the company kicked off a Halloween-themed event in partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. in which the restaurant chain pledged to give away more than $1 million in free burritos to Roblox users. Roblox on Friday tweeted that the outage “was not related to any specific experiences or partnerships on the platform.”

Eight-year-old Julia Ocasio of Brooklyn, N.Y., said the outage put a damper on her weekend.

“I was a little hurt by it because when I’m bored I usually play Roblox and it’s fun,” said the third-grader.

Her father, Ray Ocasio, a 50-year-old substance-abuse counselor, said the outage has been frustrating for him as a parent, too. “You don’t want your kid moping around,” he said. But he added that he also saw an opportunity to teach Julia about keeping levelheaded. “It’s just a game. It’s not something to get into a frenzy over,” he said.

Many content creators were also affected, including aspiring YouTuber Hannah Rizk, who recently started creating and posting weekly videos about the Roblox role-playing game “Adopt Me!” on YouTube. The 14-year-old switched to playing Microsoft Corp.’s “Minecraft” and other games while waiting things out.

Hannah’s mother, 44-year-old Sabrina Rizk, said she also missed playing games on Roblox with her daughter, what she described as a bonding experience.

“I’m finding I’m having withdrawal symptoms,” said Ms. Rizk, a homemaker in a suburb of Austin, Texas, and an amateur investor who bought about $1,000 of shares in Roblox when the company went public in March via a direct listing. “It was a good way to decompress from the stressors of life, particularly now, with the pandemic dragging on.”

Outages affecting large volumes of users are relatively common. Earlier this month, Facebook Inc.’s services went offline for as much as six hours. The company apologized for the incident, which affected its core platforms and apps, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

A recently completed global survey by Uptime Institute LLC, a provider of consulting services on data-center reliability, found that 69% of data-center operators had some sort of outage in the past three years. Human error played a role in 78% of those incidents and 44% had major financial, reputational and other consequences.

Roblox’s business model doesn’t feature advertising and is centered on users’ purchases of virtual currency that allows them to acquire in-game perks or items for their avatars.

Like Facebook, now renamed Meta Platforms Inc., Roblox has been among those lately looking to drum up interest in the metaverse, loosely defined as an extensive future online world where people exist and interact in shared virtual spaces through digital avatars.

Roblox users interact as avatars and transport from one experience to another, including concerts by popular real-world artists. In September, for example, millions of fans logged on to the platform over the span of a weekend to watch Twenty One Pilots perform.

Roblox was one of the companies that benefited most as Covid-19 convinced people to stay at home more.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company was privately valued around $4 billion after a fundraising in February 2020. Its valuation shot up to close to $30 billion this January through fundraising. Roblox debuted on the stock market through a direct listing at more than $40 billion in March.

Since its first trade on the New York Stock Exchange, its share price has climbed more than 30%. Despite the outage, its shares rose around 1.5% and were trading at around $84 on Friday.


This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text

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