When Roblox launched its Developer Exchange program last October, the thought was that some of the people using the platform to create their own games would be able to exchange enough virtual currency for real money that they’d be able to help pay for their educations or make some extra income on the side. Six months later, it’s apparent that vision may have been too modest.
Roblox announced this week that two teenage twin brothers from Ireland earned the first ever $10,000 monthly payout from the Developer Exchange, bringing their total earnings to $19,000. Conor and Darragh Griffin (known collectively as TheGamer101) are the minds behind Sword Fighting Tournament, a multiplayer fighting game that has racked up more than 25 million play sessions since its debut in 2009.
Sword Fighting Tournament
Its continued growth has mirrored that of Roblox as a whole, and CEO David Baszucki says it’s not a fluke.
“They’ve been great Roblox proponents, and they’ve been on the platform since day one,” Baszucki said when asked about the Griffin brothers. “Sword Fighting Tournament has gotten more and more refined, and it monetizes really well. As we’ve made it possible for them to provide upgrades and VIP passes and other items in that game, they started seeing enormous amounts of virtual currency.”
They’re also not alone. The Developer Exchange program has given out $175,000 in payouts to developers as young as 14 and from countries all over the world. Roblox has had a virtual economy (using a currency called Robux) ever since it first came online in 2006, but only recently has it begun to blossom to the point where stories like the Griffins’ are possible.
“It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a while,” Baszucki said. “It’s something though that as we’ve gotten bigger, the scale has gotten bigger and started to become significant. We also think that as we start to include the developers in the benefits of what they’re making, and as developers become professional and more serious, we’re going to see higher quality games continue to be created on our platform.”
That potential might not be apparent to someone seeing Roblox for the first time. At first glance, games built within the platform bear more than a passing resemblance to a certain block-based open world phenomenon.
But while people have done and continue to do amazing things with Minecraft mods, Roblox provides all users with the ability to create their own games using Roblox Studio. It might not turn everyone into a game developer, but it certainly gives them the tools to try their hand at it.
“It’s really a complete vertical way to make a game,” Baszucki said. “They have 3D assets, they push to the cloud, they can write code with Lua within Roblox. Our developers make all of their games within Roblox Studio and use that system from start to finish.”
Baszucki touts the ease with which even beginners could get a game up and running while also making sure to highlight some advantages that more experienced creators will appreciate.
“What’s cool about Roblox is the whole cloud is part of the development process,” he said. “When you create a game and push it to the cloud, it can be immediately played by millions of people, and it will dynamically scale, so that if thousands of people try to play it, they can all play it. The other great thing about it is that the games that our devs are making work on PC, Mac, iOS, all cross-platform.”
An upcoming car game from ROBLOX gamemaker Rukiryo
The next step is to get the word out, hence the press release this week to celebrate the Developer Exchange milestones. The company is also hitting the road, partnering with Maker Faire for a tour to visit the Roblox community in multiple locations around the country.
Regardless of how it gets delivered, the message is simple: Roblox is a great place to make games that people will see and play, and it’s an increasingly lucrative one as well.
“We think we’re going to start to see professional developers earning a really big living on Roblox,” Baszucki said.
To try Roblox for yourself, visit roblox.com.