Roblox offers two new ways to make new friends and find old ones in its virtual worlds.
Friday’s announcement was made by the company that it will introduce friend recommendations and a contact importer. These two new features are designed to help existing users connect and to attract new players to its services.
Although the features are well-known, Roblox works in a different way to other social networks. Roblox has a younger user base, with tens to millions of kids using the app daily. Young users age 13 to 18 comprise another massive chunk of the company’s user base, and Roblox is making efforts to retain that age group and build around their needs as they age up.
The two new features work like you’d expect. Roblox users older than 13 years old who have been phone-verified by Roblox will be prompted for scanning their contacts and adding any friends. Any nicknames that are saved to a phone will be automatically tagged to the user across the platform. For privacy’s sake, anyone eligible for the contact importer can disable the ability to be discovered through their phone number. Roblox users can invite their friends via the contact interface. This makes it easier for Roblox players to connect with their friends and brings more users to Roblox.
Roblox’s new friend recommendations feature is also straightforward, providing a list of people “you may know and want to connect with.” The company is giving the new social tool some prominent real estate, featuring it on the home page for eligible users age 13 and older. For safety reasons, Roblox says that the feature will only make “high quality” connections, so it won’t be trying to connect people who don’t already have a high probability of knowing each other. Two users might share a number of mutual friends or have interacted recently in one of Roblox’s many game-like portals.
Roblox Senior Product Director Garima Sinha told TechCrunch that the pair of new social utilities will create fresh “entry points” that help new users plug in to their real-life social circles right away. “People care more and more about finding friendships,” Sinha said.
Ultimately while deeper social graph-building features are standard on other platforms, Roblox’s unusually young user base means the company moves deliberately when considering new features that connect users or give them new ways to interact.
“There’s very little we do just to get to market fast or because others have it,” Sinha said.