Roblox’s blocky game world has grown to more than 60 million monthly active players, and what’s amazing about that is the virtual world has been an English-only platform until now.
Today, that changes as San Mateo, California-based Roblox launches its Spanish-language support for both the game and the development tools used to create mini games within the larger world.
Craig Donato, chief business officer at Roblox, said in an interview with GamesBeat that the support required a major effort for the company. If all goes well with the Spanish roll out, the company will add more languages in a broader international expansion later on.
“We had to do a lot of work with developer tools translation, custom safety with algorithms that are meant to detect inappropriate behavior, and we have to spin up a moderation team for 24-7 support,” Donato said. “We’ve been working on it for a while. We are excited to get the first language out.”
Donato also said that Roblox had hired Chris Misner, a former Apple executive, to head the international expansion. Misner will be president of Roblox International. He previously headed the international expansion for the Apple Online Store, and he was general manager of Apple Asia Pacific.
“I’m really excited to join,” Misner said in an interview.
He said Roblox has a large global audience, and those players will become more engaged as content creators within Roblox start building local games.
“As a young developer in Argentina, I am thrilled to be building on Roblox in both English and my native language of Spanish,” said Matias Levi Fernandez, a player on Roblox since 2009 and a developer since 2014, in a statement. “Roblox now makes it incredibly easy to publish in more than one language, so my work reaches a global audience.”
Donato said the company wants to get worldwide network effects, so that a developer making a local game in the Middle East can get the benefits of having a worldwide audience as well as a local one. The company is adding community moderation, customer support, and parental resources in local languages beginning with Spanish, to ensure a safe platform where kids can play with their friends.
For its developer community, the company has rolled out a set of tools that allows creators to easily publish games in multiple languages. Support for French, German, and Brazilian Portuguese is expected in the coming months with additional language support soon thereafter.