Roblox has become a video game titan, dominating the world of children’s games in recent years and earning $ 454 million in returned last quarter only. A new report argues that success hinges on the exploitation of young game developers, many of them children, who create content for the game.
As a platform, Roblox provides players with the tools to create and play an almost unfathomable array of ‘experiences’, from climbing a huge staircase to running a restaurant to escaping a prison. Tens of millions of these games live on Robloxthe browser – hundreds of times more titles than there are on Steam. Every day, 43 million people play these games, mostly children. Some of the most popular experiences have received billions of visits and earn millions for their developers every year.
According to a new report, however, this model, which powers much of Robloxthe huge success of – can take advantage of young game developers. Posted Thursday by People Make Games, a YouTube channel of independent game journalists, “How? ‘Or’ What Roblox Exploits young game developers“Delves deep into the promise to” do it “on Roblox and alleges that the platform is in fact preparing child developers for failure.
“Since we became a listed company, Roblox now worth more than Electronic Arts, ”People Make Games producer Quintin Smith told WIRED. The company was valued at $ 45 billion in a direct listing earlier this year. “With most of the games on the platform being created by minors and a revenue split that is only a third of the industry standard, we looked at whether these young developers are in fact being exploited.” (Traditionally, game stores have slashed the revenue that publishers earn on their platforms by 30% and returned 70% to developers. Roblox gives developers only 25%, plus Escrow Based Payments.)
People Make Games analysis on Robloxeconomics highlights the gulf between Robloxthe promise of becoming a way for children to become game developers and the reality: it is very difficult to make money with Roblox, and Roblox take advantage of people who try.
Few things are more enticing than getting the bank to do what you love, and with the rising value of the gaming industry, it finally seems possible for young gamers: working for a game development studio, broadcast on Twitch, participate in competitions professionally in esport. Over the past decade, however, the gaming industry has had to contend with widespread poor labor practices – from 12-hour working days in the best studios To ridiculously unbalanced contracts with managers. Low salaries and extreme working conditions are common. The furious and all-consuming passion gamers have for their favorite media makes them an easy target to exploit.
Roblox looks at the potential for financial success by developing games in its marketing copy. Roblox Studio’s website, its development engine, promotes the company’s three tenants for budding young developers: “Make Anything”, “Reach Millions of Players” and “Make Serious Money” . On this last point, Roblox notes that the best developers make over $ 2 million per year from the platform. Developer testimonials celebrate how Roblox free them from the financial hardships of being a college student or even tease the prospect of a lifelong career in games. RobloxS YouTube channel also promotes mini-documentaries showcasing its top-performing developers. On the Internet, publications like Forbes and the BBC publish articles on Roblox developers paying their parents mortgage or their tuition fees.