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$100m dev payouts, 1.2 billion hours of engagement a month: What we learned at the Roblox Developers Conference

The Roblox team discussed the game’s growth, the latest developments on the platform and its predictions for the future
$100m dev payouts, 1.2 billion hours of engagement a month: What we learned at the Roblox Developers Conference

This year’s European edition of the annual Roblox Developers Conference (RDC)took place in London alongside the main show in San Francisco.

The user-generated content focused MMO just recently surpassed 100 million monthly active users - a goal set by the company five years ago - which makes it bigger than Microsoft’s blockbuster Minecraft.

Key reveals

During RDC, the Roblox team discussed the game’s growth, the latest developments on the platform and its predictions for the future.

Highlights from the opening sessions included the announcement that Roblox is on track to pay out $100 million to developers in 2019, while it has now hit over 1.2 billion hours of engagement a month. got an exclusive media invite to the event, and we've pulled together the key news and stats, which you can view by clicking on the link below.

#1: Roblox wants to hand out $1bn to devs in a single year

Having surpassed a significant milestone of picking up 100 million monthly active users, Roblox CEO David Baszucki said a new internal mission for the company is to pay out $1 billion to its developer community.

The firm is currently on track to pay out $100 million to developers by the end of 2019. That’s up from the $70 million it previously announced would be handed out to devs for 2018. Many of the creators building games for the platform and making money are under 18.

While money made in Roblox comes from in-game purchases, the company is currently looking at new ways for developers to make money.

One avenue already being explored is through physical toys. Since starting two years ago, Roblox has sold more than 40 million toys based off the content built by creators, for which those developers receive royalties.

“We’ve created an early inkling in the toy market place that someday will be probably copied in the movie industry or the episodic content market on Netflix, where Roblox fades into the background and we have an infinite variety of just amazing creative content," said Baszucki.

"And our toy system, it’s a lot easier than making Hot Wheels - we don’t have to think this stuff up, we go to our amazing community and we just crank them out."

Monetising engagement

In future, Roblox hopes to introduce developer payments for engagement time - not just sales. Baszucki said that some of the games in the top 50 most played still aren’t monetising much.

He said that there are thousands of developers who, when they get started, are focused on fun and engagement over monetisation.

As part of the company’s plan to deliver $1 billion in one year to the community, the firm is looking at rewarding creators for the amount of time people spend in their games.

The current goal is to get the top 1,000 developers based on time spent to an income of $30,000 a year.

The scheme is likely set to roll out in the next six to 12 months, with more information to come at a later date.

Baszucki said that by 2022, Roblox will see a studio hitting $40 million to $50 million a year. One of the goals for the company is to help support studios employing 100 people to get to that point.

Baszucki added that Roblox is also looking into advertising as a monetisation option. He clarified that this won’t be through banners or pre-roll ads, but rather the firm is exploring immersive 3D advertising.

One of the company’s ambitions is to have a major national movie advertise in Roblox, getting more engagement than TV or online video.

#2: High levels of engagement

Earlier this year Roblox passed one billion hours worth of engagement in a single month.

In the last month, CEO David Baszucki claimed that users spent three-times as much time playing and engaging with Roblox as they do with physical LEGO all around the world, with the number of hours worth of engagement passing 1.2 billion.

Roblox is largely played by kids, but Baszucki said the company has plans in the works to keep players over the age of 13 playing the game.

He admitted that as players get older, and they start wanting to be a Roblox model, soldier, movie star, or play a battle royale in the game, they don't currently have the tools on the platform to do that.

He stressed that the growth of this demographic was still accelerating each month, however.

Roblox growth for the over 13s demographic
Roblox growth for the over 13s demographic

Baszucki also revealed some key stats about how often its top games are played.

Roblox has four titles with over one billion plays, with 2,607 games hitting more than one million plays.

Seven titles have racked up over 100,000 concurrent users, while 959 have hit more than 10,000 concurrents.

To put those numbers into perspective - at the time of writing, there were five games on Steam that had hit a peak for the day of over 100k users, while 63 had a peak of over 10k.

Roblox is often typically a top grosser in the US and Great Britain and Ireland - as you can see from our weekly mobile game charts. Baszucki said that the game is consistently a number one top grossing app on iPad and a consistent top three grossing game on iPhone.

On Xbox meanwhile, Roblox is said to consistently to have been a top-five most played game for the past three years.

#3: User-generated content catalogue

One of the big announcements using the Roblox Developers Conference was the news of the company’s commitment to building a user-generated content catalogue.

At present, users design their personal avatars through a library of clothing and decorative items designed by the Roblox team.

But the company now aims over the next year or two to make assets made by the community available for all players.

With some limited items now worth tens of thousands of dollars, this could form a potentially lucrative revenue stream for developers.

“We want to get out of the business of making anything in the catalogue,” said Roblox CEO David Baszucki.

#4: Asia expansion

Earlier this year Roblox signed a strategic partnership with Chinese publisher Tencent that will see the company expand the MMO in the region, with a focus on education by teaching coding fundamentals, game design, digital citizenship and entrepreneurial skills.

The joint venture meanwhile will be based in Shenzhen to create opportunities for Chinese devs to utilise the Roblox ecosystem.

Big potential

Speaking on stage during the Roblox Developers Conference, CEO David Baszucki said that there are three-times as many potential Roblox players in China as there are in the US. He added that already the company can see “really good” early signs from the market.

Not just China though - Roblox is also looking at other key Asia markets too.

Baszucki said the firm wants to see not just a billion hours a month of engagement globally - a milestone the company crossed back in January - but to cross that landmark in strategic countries, including Japan, South Korea and China.

Currently Japan and South Korea, along with countries such as France and Germany, are experiencing two-times growth per year.

#5: Future predictions

Last year Roblox made a number of predictions for the next five years that the company wants to achieve.

During his Roblox Developers Conference keynote, CEO David Baszucki revisited those predictions and gave an update on how likely the company is to achieve them by 2023.

One of the key predictions was getting a Roblox game to one million concurrent users, which Baszucki believes will happen in the next year or two.

Other goals include getting 50 million people learning to code through Roblox - with two million users already said to be using Roblox Studio every month, having a 100-person company developing on Roblox, and having a US President mention his or her Roblox Avatar on camera.

Predictions Roblox hopes to achieve by 2023
Predictions Roblox hopes to achieve by 2023

#6: Other announcements

As well as the key announcements and big stats we’ve already gone through in this list, the Roblox Developers Conference also had a number of other reveals and details about the platform.

Below we’ve rounded up some of the other interesting points discussed during the event.

  • Through the company’s thousands of Roblox servers around the world, it's looking into utilising these better to potentially host 600-player games.
  • Over 75 per cent of the people working at Roblox are engineers, product, user experience and design.
  • 30 countries have generated 500,000-plus Roblox Studio hours each month this year. Last year devs spent 110 million Studio hours.
  • There are 10,000 active contributors on the Roblox Developer Forum, with five languages supported.
  • Roblox is working to set up more spaces and studios for Roblox developers to work at across the globe.
  • Roblox teams for the top 100 games are getting bigger
  • A host of new tools are coming to Roblox for developers to take advantage of - which you can see in the video below.