As a Roblox Developer it’s currently too hard to sell real-world merchandise (t-shirts, shirts, mugs, hoodies etc) of your game to your audience.
We, as developers, have this huge audience that we can work with- and they’re dedicated to what we do. It makes sense that we’re able to sell them physical items based off of our games. Unfortunately, Roblox’s link filtering makes this nearly impossible for us to do by ourselves whilst reaching our entire audience.
It’s wasted potential.
Why should I care?
Youtube sales culture these days is all about merchandise for the top channels; this isn’t just because they enjoy selling items with their branding on it, it’s because it is a substantial portion of their revenue.
Roblox fandoms are getting larger and larger by the day, and by cutting out this method of monetizing and building our own brands, we’re cutting out opportunities for the top developers on this site- including many of you. You’re losing opportunity.
Why should Roblox care?
As a platform, Roblox has been pushing recently to make developers their own independent entity, to enable them to build their names and brands and to effectively live off of Roblox. This is the next step in doing that.
Not only will this provide a huge monetization stream for developers, but there is potential for this to open untapped reserves of funding for Roblox as a corporation, funds that could enable the company to expand and allow developers to create even more immersive experiences.
Not only this, but by allowing developers to monetize their branding and content to such an extreme, Roblox would be enabling them to form more capable and talented studios and teams which overall increases productivity and quality of content outputted. It’s a win-win situation for developers and Roblox. It strengthens fandoms, promotes developer brands and Roblox, and creates a new method of increasing the economic system Roblox is building up.
So I’ve spent a lot of time considering this, and these are the two solutions I have kind of come to in my mind;
Roblox could partner with a company already offering some kind of clothing customization and drop-shipping service (similarly to how they partnered with Jazwares), such as Spreadshirt or FanJoy to form a merchandise system enabling users to create their own merchandise such as t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters etc and sell them through an integrated store on a Roblox game page. Because this would be a made-to-order drop-shipping service; developers would only receive a percentage of the profits, but it’s still profit that would be otherwise unavailable to developers. Roblox could impose their own ‘tax’ on merchandise sales, as they already do on other sales through the site.
Having an integrated store on your game page makes much more sense than having to promote one on external channels as you’re much more likely to reach far more of your audience than if you do promote on an external social channel, and it makes it easier for a consumer to purchase items- which of course makes them more likely to purchase because of the convenience.
I’ve made a quick mock-up of what I can imagine this to look like on the site below (not the best, I know- but it gets my idea across).
Roblox could allow trusted developers to have a link or button leading to their own studio/game websites on the game’s page, this would enable users to find their own methods of selling the merchandise whilst reaching a good amount of their community (although not nearly as much as Solution A). This is a low cost solution to the issue, however it would make for a pretty ineffective solution when compared to Solution A. There would also be underlying moderation issues with this solution.
I really think this is the next step for Roblox to take in the direction of developer independence and monetization, and would really be beneficial to all parties involved. Thank you for reading!