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What could be behind the 46 hour Roblox outage? – A game data backed analysis

Cover Image for What could be behind the 46 hour Roblox outage? – A game data backed analysis
Luke Shadwell
Luke Shadwell
Posted underAnalysis

See the current Roblox Platform Player count live here: https://v3.rtrack.live/landing

For the past 46 hours, the entire Roblox platform has been down. No one has been able to access or play games on the platform, or use the website to it’s proper functionality. RTrack’s platform tracking shows the outage fully took hold at 1AM ET, on Friday 29th October, just after both Adopt Me and Chipotle launched big updates and experiences. We’ll look at the data from RTrack for those games in this article.

While Roblox has come out and directly denied that the outages are due to “any specific experiences or partnerships on the platform”, it’s still plausible that the overall load of some experiences paired with a mistake in Roblox’s software or hardware caused the outage, with the sudden jump in people playing on the platform triggering an error in the code to scale up to huge proportions very quickly.

Event Timeline

Morning of Thursday 28th October: Adopt Me Update – Adopt Me releases an update on Thursday, some time between 5AM and 12pm Eastern time. The update receives more than 20 Million visits within hours.

Afternoon of Thursday 28th October, 7:30pm ET: Chipotle Experience Release – Chipotle’s ‘Boorito Maze’ was released at around 7:30pm ET on Thursday, immediately jumping to over 15,000 players.

Afternoon of Thursday 28th October, 8:00pm ET: Roblox Platform Player Count takes first huge dive – Just 30 minutes after the Chipotle experience’s launch, player counts immediately begin to tank, on both the platform and the Chipotle experience, as well as every other Roblox game. Total platform player count drops from 3.5 Million to 1.89 Million in less than 5 minutes, a drop of 1.61 Million players.

Afternoon of Thursday 28th October, 10:49pm ET: Roblox Platform Player Count takes second huge dive – 2 Hours after the first drop, the Roblox platforms partial outage turns into an almost complete outage. Once again within minutes, player counts drop from 1.5 Million to 349,000.

Morning of Friday 29th October, 1:12am ET: Roblox Platform Player Count has final drop to nearly zero players – In this final drop and after 5 hours of partial outages, Roblox finally falls to close to zero players, with RTrack recording the figure at 2,500 total platform concurrents.

Morning of Friday 29th October, 10:21am ET: Roblox Partially recovers, as shown on status.roblox.com “some users have started to have limited access” – Some players begin to have access again, with the player count rising to just over 100,000 for around 5 hours.

Afternoon of Friday 29th October, 15:44am ET: Roblox goes fully offline, with no players and the site impossible to access – At this point, the “we’re making things more awesome. Be back soon.” notice began showing.

Afternoon of Saturday 30th October, 17:44am ET: Roblox tweets that they have found an underlying cause of the outage, and are working on fixes to bring the site back ASAP

Roblox Platform Player Count Estimate from RTrack

Times on graph are in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Adopt Me’s Update

Adopt Me’s player count leading up to, and during the outage | https://v3.rtrack.live/index?id=920587237 | Times on graph are in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

At around 11:30am Eastern time on Thursday, Adopt Me released a new update. Within the hour the game’s player count shot to 900,000 players, from only around 200,000 moments before. Based on visit count data, within a time frame of around 2 hours the game had received 22 Million unique visits by players.

As can be seen in the player count graph, the number of players quickly began to drop off immediately at around 12:30pm ET, with a sharp initial drop, and then a continued descent followed by two more sudden drops. It would not be until 8pm ET that the entire Roblox platform experiences large drops, which can be seen with Adopt Me’s player count dropping from 300,000 to just 150,000, and then further to 15,000 shortly after.

Chipotle’s Boorito Maze

Chipotle Boorito Maze Player count, since launch | https://v3.rtrack.live/index?id=7603178367

The Chipotle experience’s player count data is more interesting. Despite Roblox saying that the outage was not due to any specific experience or partnership, outages seem to have begun almost immediately after Chipotle launched their game. While initial reactions and social coverage were very positive, the game’s player count was already inexplicably experiencing huge drops in player counts, in line with the platform overall.

Some speculate that Chipotle’s use of HTTP service or another specific API for their use case could have caused the outage, however there is little evidence to prove that this is the case. Similarly, in 2020 the Lil Nas X concert was developed in a way that caused more than 1,000,000 players to be ‘teleported’ between game servers at once, and while this caused many players to lose connection to the game, it did not cause the platform to experience downtime.

Other games

Top 10 Games graph, does not include Adopt Me | https://v3.rtrack.live/resources/top-10-area

What’s clear from the data is that Brookhaven was one of the largest experiences at the time of the outage, but did not experience any significant jump in players.

Publishing RTrack data leading up to the outage

I want to publish any and all data RTrack has leading up to the outage that could help determine the cause, and so have attached many different sets of data here.

All Player count changes for every game, every 5 minutes, since midnight on 28th October, only includes >100 player counts for file size (500 Thousand datapoints)


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