A 'One Size Fits All' Games Page is No Solution to the Problem of Game Discovery on Roblox

As a Roblox developer, I see more potential with regard to developers introducing a new game to players, and growing that game with those interested in the niche. Developers should, with a good game for their niche, however big or small that niche already is, be able to reach a wider audience that is potentially interested. Currently, there is a plethora of sorts on the front page, the front page has never had so many games on it than it has today.


But what is the click through rate?
What is the data behind all of these (frankly spammed) sorts from Top Earning down?
Does “spamming” players with games that they may or may not be interested in, and just hoping for the best, increase first time user retention, or long term retention?

What if a player never clicks on a game to play through the ‘Obby’ tab?
Is it good for player engagement and Roblox’s profit to “waste” front page real-estate?

If a player is looking for entertainment during a quick check to the Roblox front page, and sees the same games that they’ve never clicked on before, how many games could have been placed on the front page in their personal recommended sort, that they might have been interested in playing but those games are past 150 games in popular. The player didn’t have the current patience or thought to look through, is that the fault of the player? Did the developers of those niche games and Roblox miss an opportunity?

What if a player only plays ‘FPS’, and they see the ‘Up and Coming’ sort showing ‘Simulators’ and ‘Roleplay’ games, why would they think highly of the ‘Up and Coming’ sort if it didn’t relate to them, and show an up and coming ‘FPS’?

The problem with today’s front page is game discovery for player’s interests.

A one size fits all solution is no solution. Players are individuals with differing life experiences which leads to wanting to play differently from one another. We need a paradigm shift. The current paradigm that your game has to be the top of all games on Roblox (ie, getting to the top of popular, top rated, or be lucky enough to be featured) to have access to everybody’s eyes, so then all of your niche players can find your game is becoming archaic. We need to believe there is a bright future ahead where communities on Roblox live in a bit more harmony as everybody finds their like-minded people in games through personalized recommended sort algorithms.

If Roblox is able to address this issue, it would improve everybody’s game development experience because there would be larger funnels of interested players into dev’s game, rather than trying to compete with every single genre on Roblox to be shown to a significant amount of people flocking to games on the front page, you would only be competing with developers within your niche, and even then, it’s up to devs if that’s collaborative or competitive. The front page would have a partial one size fits all solution (no one is arguing the popular sort should go away), but the front page would also show games that relate to the player’s history of gameplay on Roblox. I believe this done properly would boost retention and a measurement so often forgotten, happiness, to astronomical levels.

P.S. I didn’t know how to explain this without describing what I see as a potential solution. I’ve heard it before, some devs will just say, “grow your niche better by advertising more”, or “the front page is what players decided should be on front page”. There is no reason for me to not propose a vision that can get the dialog rolling, rather than all of us being stuck in the old paradigm that niche games don’t attract “the audience” and other vague nebulous terms as if everybody wanting to play a game on the front page wants the same type of game. Remember, people are individuals.

157 Likes

I agree. If you look at that screenshot, you see some games repeated 5 or 6 times. It really is spamming. (We can take this a step further and say that this is actually insane spamming because it’s trying to shove the same game in your face repeatedly with the purpose of getting a different result.) Not only this, but its kind hard to find games because you are just overwhelmed with so many different colors and games and text and … you get the idea.

There are a lot of underrepresented but interesting games on Roblox. Of course there’s a place for the popular stuff, but there should also be more options to explore things that aren’t that stuff. Even if these games do get on the front page, they are hard to find because of what I said above.

28 Likes

Game Discovery on Roblox is very behind in comparison to say for example Steam. I definitely agree with you that the current “One size fits all” is not the solution as its simply not scale-able no matter how you look at it.

Giving players suggestions based on the previous games they’ve played is a small step, but its a step non-the-less. Though what if you’re a new player? the platform has no data about what you like and what you don’t… Sure it can suggest what people your age usually play but, what if you’re an odd-ball and like things that people your age don’t?

No one knows me as a player better than myself

So instead of attempting to have my experienced mainly influenced by data driven recommendations, let ME choose what I want. “But how??”

One thing that pains me and most likely a lot of others, is the fact that Roblox took the search by Genres feature completely out of the picture and instead only put a few “genre lists” and only have games be manually added (or so it seems?)

A front page for every genre

Instead of having a front page that has sorts that are just generalized games, have each genre have its own Popular sort, Top rated, featured, etc sorts

That way whatever my gaming taste might be, I have a way to go directly to that place and see all sorts of games I can enjoy without needing to plow through tons and tons of irrelevant games.

20 Likes

I feel like an example of a good games page is the Oculus Store. In addition, the design can be replicated across multiple platforms. There are a few key sections that I’d like to address.

1. Spotlight
One big problem with the Live-Ops program is that these games aren’t on the front page. Giving them a spot, especially so prominent could greatly boost the effects of the program. However, the program would probably have to be modified so that it can be changed more frequently, if it is so prominent. Also, different collections/charts (see 3 and 4) could be displayed here.

2. New and Updated Games We Love
This in Roblox would probably be changed to Up-And-Coming, which is already a sort. However, if the same sort is to be used, then the system should be changed so that the games are actually up-and-coming, not “old-but-still-somewhat-popular-and-attracting-a-decent-amount-of-players.”

3. Oculus Collections
This would probably be a better system for genres, so players can navigate to what they actually want, rather than having to scroll past 50+ games that they don’t want. It also can accomplish the ideal genre-based sorts, by creating a separate page for each genre. Finally, adding these “collections” could be a step towards bring back seasonal events (e.g. creating a “Spooky” sort in October, or creating a “Back To School” sort in September).

4. Charts
This would be a good spot for all those non-genre sorts. Popular and Top-Rated would probably stay out, but “Most Engaging,” “Players Love,” and “Top Earning“ would go better here.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the games or IP shown here, nor endorse or disparage any of the games. This screenshot is for reference purposes only.

16 Likes

I think a lot developers agree that having genres years ago was helpful, but they were also limiting. They did not scale with new types of games coming out. We would need some kind of user generated tag system so that the players are truly the ones tagging games.

The fact that they re-added genres shows that they care, but our feedback is not reaching them enough. The genres they added are the game sorts near the bottom of the games page. “Roleplay”, “Adventure”, “Fighting”, “Obby”, “Tycoon”, “Simulator”. Sadly, they are subjectively a very static game sort most likely form an algorithmic feedback loop that bars outside games -wish I had data on this to back up my claim)
Not only are these genres also limiting on the future genres, but it encourages the same genres to be made over and over again to try to get onto the sort (if the sort does any significant extra advertising at all given how many sorts are now on the games page)

12 Likes

The issue is a majority of roblox accounts are likely marked as Under 13, and collecting data on what a person likes would violate COPPA meaning it would only be permitted for accounts above 13+. Doesn’t sound like something Roblox would do if it isnt for the bigger chunk of their playerbase (Being 12 or less). Sure it can be a web-only feature, but it doesn’t seem like it would be on their plate for a long time.

EDIT: Not the main point, but should be put into consideration unless new genres can be generalized.

1 Like

I didn’t realize that when originally making the post, and that to get a youtube account you have to agree you’re over 13.

I think some Roblox staff have a great idea here with “Game playlists” for their hackweek. I sincerely hope that the project is continued as an official feature.

Play button time stamp relevant

4 Likes

You don’t have to collect data on <13 users to have this feature though. Roblox could use a pool of >13 users with similar interests to collect the data and then show the younger players the results based off their recently played or something. There’s many ways a feature like this could be implemented and still be safe for younger users.

5 Likes

I definitely think something like game playlists would be a step in the right direction. I’d love to find more interesting games on Roblox and I’m sure there are some hidden gems out there but tbh right now I don’t really play games on Roblox because I’m not interested in most of what the games page tries to offer me. I haven’t really found anything new because I don’t even know where to start and there aren’t really any good tools to try find a good new game other than ask around or accidentally stumble across an interesting game out of nowhere.

I do really like the idea of custom tags or else a much much larger selection and then putting a limit of maybe 3-5 tags that you can assign to a game at once. With that you could then easily pull up a tag specific games page that’ll show the top games and whatnot with that specific tag which I would LOVE because then I can much more easily search niches and get to the games I’d be interested in playing or checking out a lot faster.

I feel like it would be in Roblox best interested to implement something like this because I think it would actually encourage more money to pass through the economy and ultimately make the platform more profitable for anyone. Just think about it, players are only going to spend money on the games they like so the easier it is for players to find those niche games they enjoy the more likely they are to spend money on Roblox. If all they’re shown is the same games over and over or it’s hard to find new games then Roblox is actually losing revenue in a sense. Just something to think about.

9 Likes

This is the pinnacle of Roblox trying to shoehorn as many game sorts onto one page without adding game tags.

I could wishfully presume that the only difference between these two segments is that the bottom one filters games that haven’t localized their games in X amount or more languages… Either way, too many duplicates show up.

12 Likes

We really need better sorts. Why do we have

Popular
Popular Worldwide
Popular Among Premium

We need more sorts like Most Engaging and Up-And-Coming. My game happened to land on both of those and it helped tremendously.

I also think the featured sort should not be automated anymore. How can it be featured when it was setup by a bot? Sometimes the games that are put on there, while fun, haven’t received an update in years. That’s a slap in the face to anyone trying to get a good new game up and running, and receiving no support.

Also the Tycoon sort isn’t very friendly when you have a Tycoon game and you chose to go outside of the box and not call it a Tycoon in the title. There’s games with thousands of concurrent players getting more love on that sort, 24/7/365, meanwhile my Tycoon game was left out. And other Tycoon games without that moniker, I’m sure.

8 Likes

Please? If there’s one thing I think needs to be done on Roblox ASAP, it’s this right here. Game discoverability is everything, for every developer on the platform. Re-thinking the games page entirely would help a lot.

I get that some of the genre sorts were limiting in that some games didn’t fit into one single genre, and thus couldn’t fully utilize the genre sort, but come on! Some sorts were extremely helpful and I find myself wanting them to this day, namely the Top Paid sort. IMO some of the best quality games on Roblox are paid access, and I want to be able to see a list of them both as a player and a developer. But I can’t, because it’s nearly impossible to find newer and smaller games, paid access or not, on this platform.

Some of the existing sorts just might as well not be there. Honestly, I don’t know the purpose of them and I can’t wrap my mind around how anyone thought they would be the least bit useful. For example, ‘Popular Among Premium’, ‘Popular Worldwide’, ‘Top Earning’, and ‘Players Love’ are literally all just a regurgitation of the Popular Sort and serve no useful purpose to anyone. All they do is sit there clogging the games page and collecting dust. As for the genre-specific sorts like Tycoon and Obby, they’re equally as useless:


Overall, there are like 2 useful sorts on the entire games page, and one of them is the regular Popular sort. There is not a single sort that improves discoverability for newer and smaller games whatsoever, save for the temporary (?) Learn & Explore sort which you have to apply for. So not really. And that’s coming from someone who is currently on that sort.

All in all, I personally think this is the single most important update that Roblox could make right now aside from various engine features, and it needs to be looked at immediately. I’m not sure if this post fully expresses my frustration with how impossible it is to find new and interesting games nowadays, but just know that myself and other developers (as well as players) are tired of seeing the same games over and over again on 4 different identical sorts. Please fix.

There are tons of misc topics about game sorts/discoverability on the Website Features category (just shows how much an update like this is desired within the community), but here are a few that could help:



Please consider every idea brought up in all of these posts, and especially in this topic because I can’t agree enough with the original post.

9 Likes

I think that this feature request can be safely closed- there’s been an addition of a personalized sort that is the complete opposite of a one size fits all mindset.

It’s great for discovery and finding games in your niche/attracting players in your game’s niche. Whether you enjoy roleplay, horror, or simulators- there will be a sort just for you.

1 Like

That’s one sort out of… lemme count… 20? While I too would love to believe that this is a good solution, it doesn’t do much. In order to analyze data about what a player likes, a player must go over to the games page and pick some games to play. There’s a good chance that the player will pick a game near the top of the screen, and reinforce the cycle of new players picking an already popular game.

According to Roblox, half of the top 100 games have had to spend at least 100,000 Robux to make it there. And that is to get anywhere in the top 100. Adding more sorts, as outlined in the OP, has never been the solution. Instead, we are asking for the front page to accessible for games of all shapes and sizes, not just the ones with 2k+ players or the devs with $1,000/$350 Robux.

Source: https://developer.roblox.com/en-us/articles/developer-economics

Yes, percisely. The “Recommended for you” sort is the 2nd sort on the home page, right below games you previously played, and is below the “Most Engaging” sort on the games page. I’d say that would be great for discoverability. This isn’t just tucked in a secret page, y’know…

Furthermore, there are many genres on the front page that they may enjoy- choosing one will have your sort targeted to that.

FPS, Anime, Obbies, etc. All appear on the front page. You have to start somewhere, anyways. What personalization could you achieve with no data?

Does your recommended sort really only show games with over 2k players? Mine doesn’t. It shows small games and big games alike.

(Yes, obbies are fun lol.) Did you catch that? A game with 3 players? Tell me that isn’t de definition of discoverability.

The recommended sort has been proven and to be incredibly useful to developers and discoverability. Look at any post on the announcement thread.

I can’t fathom why you wouldn’t think of this as a impactful, major change.

2 Likes

There won’t be any personalized recommendations until a player starts playing games. Here’s what the Recommended For You sort looks like on a new account:

I was referring to the top 100 games/sorts other than Recommended For You. I definitely agree that it is a step in the right direction. However, it still doesn’t satisfy the feature request as outlined in the OP. Also, as stated earlier, the RFY (I’ll shorten it for brevity) sort only starts showing recommended games after you start playing. If all the new player is able to find are popular games, then it has less efficacy. While developers like you and me may play smaller games (and obbies, the best genre of all), adverts right now are necessary for 79% of the top 100 games on Roblox, let alone the thousands, if not millions of smaller games that are nowhere near the front page.

That game had 1M+ visits. Here’s a graph of the concurrents over time:

From what I can tell, the game stopped being advertised around October 22 and died down after that. While this obviously shows how low the engagement for obbies is, it also highlights how in Roblox’s current state of game discovery, without significant advertising it is almost impossible for games to go anywhere.

I completely agree that this is impactful, and definitely a major change. However, I don’t believe that it solves the problem of game discovery, and I definitely don’t agree that

this feature request can be safely closed

Game discovery will be an ongoing issue for Roblox developers at all levels, especially in the coming years as Roblox expands at an unprecedented rate.

2 Likes