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Video calling, avatar creation, PlayStation, RDC 2023 had it all

At RDC 2023 we learned that Roblox Connect is a new in-game video calling option, Roblox is coming to PlayStation, developers can use subscriptions, and more.

Roblox RDC 2023 - Roblox avatars in front of the keynote screen

Every year, fans and developers worldwide look forward to the Roblox Developers Conference, and RDC 2023 certainly delivered on its promise of future innovation for the platform. In the keynote, we got to learn exactly where Roblox is going next, and it certainly looks as though both players and creators have reason to be excited. Want to know what all the fuss is about? Our RDC 2023 round-up is on hand to show you everything from the all-important keynote.

Before we dive in, if you’re not familiar with the Roblox Developers Conference, it’s an annual event in which there’s a mixture of online and in-person talks (if you make the trip to San Francisco), meaning you can enjoy all the exciting news as it happens regardless of where you are in the world. However, there’s no denying how great it is to attend RDC, even if it’s purely for networking purposes.

We know, we know, most of you likely want to know what all the fuss is about for players. Well, how about the fact that there’s a fresh new way to communicate? Or that you can create your avatar from anywhere?

Roblox Developers Conference 2023 highlights

Without further ado, let’s dive into all of the exciting news to come from the RDC 2023 keynote:

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Grand opening

The RDC 2023 keynote began much in the same way as we’ve seen in the previous year. Just before Roblox CEO David Baszucki came out on stage, we were treated to a short montage celebrating the history of the platform and some of its most popular games, including Doors, Rainbow Friends, and more.

Baszucki’s opening speech was well received by the crowd of Roblox devotees, describing the event as “the epicenter of the world’s creative energy at this moment in time”. Then, after further praising the Roblox developers, producers, and community, he moved on to the big reveals for this year’s RDC main event.

Entertainment and education

Before talking about the platform’s gaming experiences, Baszucki touched on the desire within Roblox to expand further into entertainment and education. He suggested we’re going to see more live music by artists like Blackpink, and explained how to developer is planning to further enhance the education Pyramids of Giza experience with intelligent AI.

Big in Japan

While covering the numbers for the last year of Roblox, the CEO revealed a staggered 107% growth in daily active users and a 104% increase in Robux spending in Japan in the last year, complimented by games by Japanese creators such as Escape Running Head.

UGC Expansion

One of the big reveals from the RDC 2023 keynote was the news that UGC creation is going mainstream, with the developer adding the ability for everyone to get creative in the next six months. There are also plans for in-experience creation, which the developer is set to roll out in the next 12 months.

Roblox Connect

The ways to connect with other players on Roblox are plentiful, thanks to the likes of text chat and voice chat (for those over the age of 13). Plus, there’s the option for teenagers to animate their avatars with facial animations, which is a new feature that Roblox introduced just last month. So, what’s next? It’s Roblox Connect – the future is video calls!

For all of you parents out there, don’t worry, for it’s still your avatar that’s on display, and you can only make calls to those on your friends list. To put it in perspective, when you enter a call, you can convey your facial expressions and body language through your avatar, though you do also get to use your real name. When you enter the call, you go to a shared immersive space in which you all get to virtually sit together at a campfire or stand by a waterfall.

It’s a big step forward in helping Roblox friends stay connected, especially if it’s as a means of communicating with long-distance relatives.

Roblox is coming to PlayStation

Yes, you read that right. Those of you who enjoy Roblox on mobile with a PlayStation can switch between the two devices as of next month. Sure, Roblox is also on PC and Xbox, but not everyone has those platforms, so this is an exciting move for the beloved games platform.

Roblox CEO Baszucki also hinted at more platforms to come, telling the crowd he could offer some hints if they caught him after the keynote. Now, this is purely speculation, but there’s one important console we at Pocket Tactics love that is now one of the few that doesn’t handle the Roblox platform. We’re talking, of course, about the Nintendo Switch. Could this be a cryptic hint from the CEO we can expect Roblox to arrive on Nintendo’s hardware soon? We’re not sure, but we certainly hope so.

Roblox RDC 2023 keynote speaker on stage with a phone on the screen next to him

New tools for avatar creation

Thanks to the reveal of new mesh and texture APIs, creators have complete control over changing items while inside a Roblox game or experience, meaning they can morph the shape and dimensions of their Roblox avatar while also being able to switch up the textures. Developers will have the option to enable this feature for players in their experiences in the near future.

However, it looks to be a phased process as you can customize the avatar itself first, with alterations to clothes, emotes, and items coming in the months after. Roblox also intends to enable players to create their avatars from a simple image or a text prompt. We can only imagine the possibilities with that sort of technology – it certainly cuts the creation time down to size.

Aging up

Talking of ‘aging up’ has been a big topic at prior RDC conferences, with the developer keenly aware of its need to attract older users. The news from this year’s keynote is that the developer’s approach is working, with the 17-24 demographic the fastest growing on the platform. Considering the refinement of the Roblox age limit, and the arrival of more adult-orientated games, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

New ways for Roblox devs to earn money

Sure, creating things is great, and it’s a true passion for those who choose to be a developer on Roblox, but they also deserve some compensation for all their hard work in attracting players to the games platform. Well, that’s something Roblox evidently agrees with, as it’s set to introduce a subscription system. Essentially, creators can offer subscriptions within their game (what the subscription entails is at the discretion of the developer).

We’re also going to see the introduction of the Avatar Marketplace Analytics system, providing UGC creators with more ways to understand and complement their products. That’s alongside a new notifications system for experience creators, offering the ability to notify users new and old when there are new updates or events taking place inside a game. In both cases, Roblox is handing as much control as possible over to its countless creators.

Everyone is invited to join the Roblox economy

Not only are developers benefiting from changes to Roblox’s economy, but the company intends to allow everyone who’s ID-verified with a premium membership to create items for the marketplace. This is yet another way for you to unleash your creativity on the popular platform.

If that isn’t exciting enough for you, how about the fact that Roblox is going to allow asset and tool creators to keep 100 percent of the money generated through their items in the Studio and Creator Hub? This is due to come into effect next year.

Roblox RDC 2023 - two people on stage with a virtual street behind them

Safety first

As fun as Roblox is, it’s still a place on the internet, and given some of the younger audience members, it’s vital that there’s some safeguarding on display. Luckily, Roblox intends to further its protection with some ML architecture that detects when somebody violates a policy through voice communication. Furthermore, it’s the first AI of its kind to be deployed at such a large scale. The English moderator is to release soon, though a further four languages are due to follow.

The platform is also set to introduce BanningAPI to further secure users from those they don’t want to interact with. This extends to alt accounts, with the new API system powerful enough to connect alt accounts to individual users. So, if you ban someone once, there’s no way of them somehow making their way back onto your friendslist by means of disguising themselves behind a secondary account.

When it comes to developers, later this year, Roblox is rolling out developer-configured text filters, which essentially means that the developer can determine what sort of text is okay for their community. Thanks to the IsVerfied API, they can also decide what parts of their experience a player can visit – if someone behaves in a toxic manner, they can be blocked from certain areas of the game.

2023 predictions

Back in 2018, David Baszucki took to the RDC stage to make a list of predictions about the state of the game in five years’ time. At the 2023 event, the CEO revealed the list had a 58% success rate, before unveiling ten new objectives to aim for before the 2028 conference.

As you can see in from the long list of predictions below, there are some pretty high aspirations there, including the desire to see a Roblox developer valued at over a billion dollars, and individual goals for areas such as education, fashion, and live music on the platform. So, now all we have to do is wait five years to see if these high aspirations come to fruition.

10. A Fortune 500 company will use a Roblox experience as part of their recruiting process.
9. A school will integrate a full K-12 curriculum with Roblox, including language classes with schools in other countries and virtual field trips.
8. For 17+ verified people in 17+ experiences: Thousands of adults will meet for the first time in Roblox dating experiences and subsequently form real life relationships.
7. Roblox employees will spend more time using Roblox for remote meetings than with video.
6. We will share a universal civility metric, and show that for most places, it increases over time.
5. Some Roblox creators will make more money from selling physical merchandise on Roblox than virtual merchandise.
4. Roblox will be a frequent communication channel for my family.
3. A top fashion designer will be discovered on Roblox, without having any experience in physical fashion.
2. A musician will perform live to over 1M people on Roblox, using a phone for motion capture.
1. A Roblox developer will be valued at $1B.

New technology for creators

As ever, there were plenty of new tools for creators on show during the RDC 2023 keynote. We saw an upcoming assistant tool, offering creators a better way to understand development and bring people to their game on the platform. There are also updates on the way for Roblox coders, with more scripting and coding tools becoming compatible with Roblox’s inner workings so that designers can use whatever software they feel most comfortable with.

Elton John!

Finally, we can’t wrap up our coverage of the RDC 2023 keynote without mentioning the big guest star of the night – Elton John. Celebrating the success of the Beyond the Yellow Brick Road experience, the iconic piano man made a brief video appearance thanking the community for its support following the launch of Elton’s very own Roblox title. We didn’t have that appearance on our RDC bingo card, but it did bring a little star power to the main stage. Maybe we’ll get Mariah Carey next year?

Screenshot of Elton John's video cameo appearance at the RDC 2023 keynote

From RDC 2023, we can clearly see that Roblox is still full of exciting innovations. If all of this has you wanting to try out some of the experiences on offer, take a look at our lists of the best Roblox games and best Roblox horror games. We’ve also got plenty of Roblox game codes and Roblox promo codes, so you can grab a few freebies.