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Roblox reaffirms that they are ‘not exploiting’ young game developers on popular game platform

If our generation (yes, I’m a Gen Z writer) has Minecraft, then the younger ones nowadays have Roblox.

Roblox, as everyone already knows, is an online game platform and game creation system that allows players to program their own games and stages. The game currently has over 70.2 million daily active users worldwide, mostly minors under 16 years old.

Roblox is also a free-to-play game, with its in-game purchases made available with its virtual currency called Robux. Young Roblox developers are able to monetize their games and are paid with Robux.

Roblox has received both positive and negative reviews from critics since its release, with the latest one being about “young developer exploitation,” made by PeopleMakeGames back in 2021.

In a video aptly titled, “Investigation: How Roblox is Exploiting Young Game Developers,” Quintin Smith explains how the Roblox Studio works around their platform and also reveals how the game encourages its young developer base “to work incredibly hard with unreasonable expectations of success.”

PeopleMakeGames also pointed out how a young developer’s game is incredibly difficult to get noticed out of the multitudes available on the platform, and for those games to be seen, players need to bid for an ad slot with Robux.

Another flaw mentioned by PeopleMakeGames is about the withdrawal of Robux into real money, where they’d have to have a minimum amount of 100,000 Robux to withdraw it. Another thing is that these developers would have to pay for a Robux monthly premium subscription.

PeopleMake Games’ video included an account from an 11-year-old who said, “Even though Roblox encourages you to make games, the likelihood of you making a successful game is basically zero.”

Roblox responded to this take with a statement, where in part they said,

“Collectively, developers and creators contribute to our platform in three ways: 1) by building experiences for their friends and users on the platform as a whole to enjoy; 2) by building avatar items for users to acquire and express themselves with; and 3) by building tools and 3D models for other developers and creators to utilize. Our developers play an integral role in the health of the Roblox ecosystem.

We work to help the community grow, support their needs, and ensure mutual success.

Our community has evolved over the years. Once powered by individual part-time developers, it has grown to include small groups of collaborators, and now full-time studios that focus on developing on Roblox.”

In more recent times, Roblox has been once again accused of exploiting young game developers on their game platform. To that end, Roblox Studio’s Head Stefano Corazza addressed those accusations through an interview with Eurogamer. In some part during the interview, Corazza mentioned that “Roblox had hired some teenagers that had millions of players on the platform,” to which Roblox cleared out by saying that it doesn’t.

Later on, Roblox also gave a detailed statement on their views on their platform, which is as follows:

“The Roblox platform serves a broad community of creators. People of all ages and backgrounds start creating on Roblox for many different reasons – to learn to code, to share their creations with friends, or simply for the joy of building. For many, using Roblox to build a game or virtual experience or virtual item is a form of creative expression. Much like other forms of creative expression, such as learning to play a musical instrument, or filming and uploading your own videos to the Internet, for many it is a hobby, for others, it may eventually turn into a career.

Our developer and creator community includes individuals with a wide spectrum of professional capabilities and team sizes, ranging from young students and independent hobbyists, all the way to full-time studios. Roblox is also an educational tool and education has been a part of the company’s DNA since day one. Today, educators around the world harness the platform to create immersive learning experiences that inspire creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. We are proud of the positive difference that building on Roblox, with free tools available to all, has made in the lives of many in our developer community.

A recent survey into the reasons the creator community builds on Roblox found that the primary motivator for most creators is not monetary game. In a survey conducted by Roblox and completed by more than 6500 Roblox creators in Q4 2023, when asked about what motivates them to develop experiences on Roblox, having fun ranked 4x higher than monetization. For the subset of the creator community who wish to pursue monetization, Roblox offers a unique value proposition.

As a user-generated platform (UGC), the economics of Roblox are different from other gaming platforms. Roblox levels the playing field for developers by offering frictionless infrastructure, global distribution, and development technologies at low upfront costs to developers. For instance, unlike other platforms where developers incur expenses for app store fees, payment processing, storage, hosting, infrastructure, moderation, and safety features – this is all covered by Roblox. You can learn more about the economic value proposition for developers and earnings on Roblox, and the percentage breakdown of the Roblox share, here.

As our platform has scaled, our monetizing developers and creators have enjoyed meaningful earnings expansion over time through the Roblox Developer Exchange (DevEx) program, which is the means by which creators monetize their games and experiences. You can see how our DevEx has increased over the years in our supplemental materials, page 11. In 2023, we delivered more than $741m to the creator community through the DevEx program. We are always looking for more ways for developers to earn on the platform (read Our Vision for Roblox Economy).

For the experiences that monetize, the majority are created by developers who are aged 18 or older. Of the creators who are enrolled in the Roblox Developer Exchange (DevEx) program, the overwhelming majority are over the age of 18. The average age for top-earning and/or engaging developers is around 25 years old. In 2023, more than 90 percent of the top 1000 experiences by hours engaged in were owned by developers who were at least 18 years old. You can read more about how we support creators here.”


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