Roblox has become one of the largest gaming platforms in the world in the last few years, and growth is still steady. This is largely due to professional development teams that have been developing on Roblox for years making huge games that are easily accessible to all players.
It’s no secret that these teams are well-paid, raking in millions of dollars per year. Even medium-sized games make more than a decent living from Roblox. However, smaller developers are left in the dust.
From my April game stats report (gross):
The top 25 games made over $183,000 in the month of April on average. Further down the list, you can see a sharp divide between the top 76-100 games (~$18,000) and the top 101-250 games ($6,680). For what it’s worth, my game was rank 1,131 and made a little under half of the top 101-250 games, on average.
There’s a huge difference in revenue between the top 100 games and 100+ games. The top 100 games all make over $200,000 per year, while games below the 100 rank are making less than $100,000. These aren’t bad numbers, especially with how easy it is to make a game on Roblox compared to other platforms, but they could and should be better. Here’s why:
Why it matters
1: Most developers fall short of top 100
I’m only using the top 100 as a sort of line between high earnings and low earnings, even though it’s all completely subjective. Remember that the goal here is to make the line between the top 100 and sub 100 thicker by increasing earnings for smaller developers.
There should be more than 100 (theoretical) slots for games earning an upper-class living. Developers shouldn’t have to gun for these slots to make this kind of money, especially with how much their games are bringing in. Smaller developers can’t rely on Roblox as a stable source of revenue exactly for this reason, while bigger developers can. This leads me to my next point:
2: Even small games earn a lot
My game was rank 1,130. That’s not that good and it only has a few million visits. It’s popularity is a far cry from even the top 101-250 games. However, it’s still generated tens of thousands of dollars for Roblox. My calculation:
- It’s made ~4,200,000 Robux (gross).
- If you buy Robux at the most value possible ($100 for 11,000 Robux, assuming you have premium), that’s 110 Robux/dollar.
- At 110 Robux per dollar, my game has generated ~$39,000 in total.
And that’s the least amount possible by these calculations. How much have I seen of that? ~$10,500 if all DevExed (which I haven’t done, because some of the Robux have gone to advertising, commissions, and reckless spending). That’s just about 26% of the smallest estimate I could come up with for the total revenue my game has generated.
Now, I realize Roblox doesn’t see every penny of that either due to certain fees and taxes, and the amount that they do see is well put toward providing me with free servers on top of a free engine and platform to develop my game on. That’s why I’m not suggesting that developers should see all of that revenue or even any number close to it. But there are ways to increase the amount that the developer sees without putting too much of a burden on Roblox.
1: Increase small game visibility
This doesn’t directly contribute to earnings, but many small developers (including myself) know the value of visibility. In late March, my game was put in the Learn & Explore sort, which boosted its visibility a ton.
In the image below, the green circle shows monthly (gross) revenue while the Learn & Explore sort was on the front page. Blue shows after it got knocked down behind other sorts.
As you can see, visibility = revenue. Especially for smaller games that are trying to grow a community up from the ground and don’t have an already-established community to lean on. This solution would greatly help smaller games while not impacting already-established games if done correctly.
My personal favorite solution for increasing game visibility is a tagging system, like Steam. Developers could put tags on their games, and players could filter by tag. There are tons of threads out there about ways to do this, so I’ll leave my favorite one:
2: Decrease marketplace fee
A little while back, Roblox made a tremedous first step in standardizing the fee for all users regardless of membership status. But the marketplace fee being as high as it is is just annoying for developers and causing us to lose out on an unnecessarily high amount of revenue that would otherwise be all ours.
I understand the security that a fee provides in an economy such as on Roblox, but it’s just too high and it’s been 30% for as long as I can remember. Roblox has evolved from what is was years ago, with millions more players and certainly a lot more Robux to go around. If Roblox were to cut it in half at 15%, my 3,000,000 Robux turns in 3,500,000. This is a massive improvement and should be the first step in increasing revenue in my opinion.
3: Revisit premium payouts
Premium payouts is a great idea for incentivizing small developers. Unfortunately, it’s not effective. Even after the tripling, the amount that I’m earning pails in comparison to what I’m earning through developer products and game passes. It barely supplements my revenue.
I’m not necessarily asking to increase the premium payout revenue, though (but it would be nice ;)). With the introduction of premium payouts came the introduction of the Premium purchase modal.
At the moment, there is literally absolutely zero reason for developers to encourage players to purchase premium in-game. It’s quite an oversight given that the modal exists in the first place. I’d rather sell a VIP gamepass of my own to directly reap the benefits of giving users advantages in-game rather than selling Premium at the moment.
Roblox should give developers a percentage of the Premium Robux when Premium is bought in-game. For example, if a player buys Premium 1000 in-game, the developer should earn a commission of 700 Robux. A lot of developers are very good at marketing products in-game, and this would allow developers another stream of revenue. Not to mention an increase of Premium sales, which means more Robux for everyone.
As a developer, Roblox has opened up so many opportunities for me and provided me with a future career path. I just turned 17 a few days ago and I’ve already got tons of experience with game development and some money to show for it. I’m grateful for what Roblox provides, but smaller developers definitely deserve a bigger piece of the pie.