Roblox’s business model has been criticised for exploiting its young user base

A new investigation from People Make Games has criticised Roblox’s business model, pointing out how difficult it is to make a profit from the platform.

Roblox sees an estimated 200 million users a month, and according to the report, its core user base is between the ages of 9 and 15.

Roblox allows users to earn money from the games they make on the platform, but as People Make Games points out, the revenue split is tiny compared to the industry standard for game developers.

For instance, while developers take home a 70% cut of their game’s sales on Steam, and 88% on the Epic Games Store, they receive a paltry 24.5% on Roblox.

Additionally, receiving that 24.5% is not a simple matter. Roblox users are paid in the platform’s own currency, Robux. If users wish to exchange their Robux for real money, they need a minimum Robux balance of 100,000 Robux before they can do so. While 100,000 Robux would cost $1,000, the conversion rate while cashing out is much lower, meaning users would receive just $350.

The ability to convert Robux into cash is only available to users with Roblox premium subscriptions, which costs $5 per month.

Beyond being difficult to even withdraw money from the platform, it’s a challenge to even get eyeballs on your game. Roblox has little in the way of discoverability features, highlighting roughly 1,000 of its millions of games on the front page.

Users can either hope to get lucky and become popular organically, or they can pay Roblox to advertise their game – users can bid for advertising spots on the platform using their Robux, thereby making it harder to hit the 100,000 threshold required to withdraw funds from the platform.

This eventually creates a situation in which many Roblox creators never see a penny from their games. Roblox meanwhile recently released its Q2 results, showing revenue up by a huge 127 per cent to $454.1m, with bookings up by 35 per cent year-on-year to $665.5m.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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