Our Vision for the Roblox Economy
by Enrico D’Angelo, Vice President of Economy
Product & Tech
Since our earliest days, Roblox’s economy has been driven by our creators. Over the years, their ingenuity has made our economy vibrant and dynamic, and by 2022, our platform’s GDP1 had grown to become as large as that of some countries.
Picture Roblox as a nation with people producing and selling goods and services and others buying or consuming them. Every day, 66 million visitors come to Roblox from 180 countries to enjoy immersive experiences, education, social connections, virtual goods, and more. In short, Roblox has become one of the biggest virtual economies2 on Earth.
Like our platform, our vision for our economy is that it models and reflects the real world, but with the ability to go above and beyond by overcoming physical limitations. So today, we want to share the three fundamental principles behind that vision: first, our economy should be seamless for anyone to participate; second, it should serve our community; and third, it should empower creators of all sizes to launch and scale a business.
We’re building one of the world’s largest immersive platforms for connection and communication. There are a number of ways for creators to earn on Roblox, including by making virtual goods. They can also create engaging experiences, like the millions they’ve already built, where people spent 14.5 billion hours in the first quarter of 2023 alone.
This translates to significant economic opportunity for our community. In 2022, our creators earned $624 million, and an additional $182 million in the first quarter of this year. There were more than 3.2 billion virtual transactions in 2022, and another 900 million during the first quarter of 2023. Last year, the ten highest-earning creators earned an average of $23 million each, and nearly every creator in our top 500 earned at least $140,000.3
But it’s not just the top level of earners who are building successful businesses on Roblox. A look at the growth in our top 1,000 creators over the last three years illustrates the opportunity. Since then, the earnings growth of the thousandth-highest earning creator was nearly three times that of creator number 10. And creator 1,000 earned $55,000 last year.
For many people, earning on Roblox is an opportunity to reinvest in themselves and create new experiences or items for our community to discover and love. While many are solo creators, many others are using those earnings to hire employees and build (or grow) teams of creators, some of which number in the dozens.
This ecosystem has existed since our inception and our goal has long been to make Roblox a place where economic opportunity abounds. We’ve made a lot of progress towards that goal so far, and we’re just getting started.
Participating in our economy should be seamless for anyone
Participation is the dynamic that powers our economic flywheel: more creators make more content that people discover and buy, which leads to more opportunity for creators. And that leads to more people interested in buying their creations and in spending time on Roblox.
Much of that participation happens on Marketplace, where people purchased 1.8 billion avatar items in 2022, and where approximately 40% of our monthly active users visit each month to update their avatars. We’ve also made significant improvements to the way consumers discover things they love and how creators can express themselves.
Recently, we began letting UGC Creators make Limiteds, giving them control over how many items to produce while also earning from every resale. For example, 3D artist Youri Hoek is popular for creating exquisitely detailed items and he has found even more success with Limiteds. As of late June, Youri’s rare golden helmet was reselling at 7.4 times its original price. Many other creators are seeing similar results and nearly 80% of resold items sell for more than their original cost. By giving creators the ability to specify the quantity of their items and allowing them to be resold, we’ve introduced market dynamics that are benefitting creators, buyers, and sellers alike.
In addition, when you create items, you can sell them either on Marketplace or in experiences — yours or someone else’s. That means you can earn on Roblox regardless of what type of creator you are.
When an affiliate markets another creator’s item, they earn a 40% commission on every sale. An example is Muneeb Parwaz’s Catalog Avatar Creator, which is currently one of the top-grossing4 experiences on Roblox. It’s a place where more than 15 million people go each month to shop with friends and try out new looks for their avatars.
By the end of the year, we plan to increase the variety of items the community can create beyond clothing and accessories to include what many feel is an important aspect of their identity — bodies and heads. This innovation represents a new dimension for Roblox, as people will have thousands of new clothing options and other ways to make their avatar reflect their individuality. And for their part, artists will have more opportunity to monetize their creativity. We’re excited to see it continue to grow and evolve.
We believe that the larger and more diverse our community is, the better we can fulfill our vision of offering something for everyone on Marketplace. In 2019, we invited a group of creators to make Marketplace avatar assets as part of our UGC program. As we’ve slowly grown that group, we’ve consistently been impressed by its creativity. So, soon, we’ll be opening up the ability to create and publish to Marketplace to all verified users who are in good standing.
We’re committed to taking an extremely thoughtful approach to expanding the UGC program, so only those who are eligible will be able to participate, and policy violations will be tied to verified accounts. This ensures accountability and deters creators from releasing content that doesn’t align with our Community Standards. Ultimately, our ambition is to foster a thriving and diverse ecosystem that rewards quality and originality.
Our community is at the center of all we do
Roblox is built for our users and our community is at the center of everything we do.
We do not create experiences that compete with our community for earnings. In 2021 and 2022, our creator community earned $538 million and $624 million, respectively. This combined figure of $1.1 billion3 is up 164% over the previous two years, and we anticipate that number will be approximately $800 million in 2023 alone.
We’re also proud that a large part of spending on Roblox benefits developers. For example, an average of 76% of all spending in experiences supports or goes to developers:
- We pay out 47% to cover costs supporting experiences — like infrastructure hosting, storage, customer support, localization, payment processing, and moderation — which other platforms generally pass on to developers.
- This enables us to return 29%5 directly to the developers.
- That leaves 24% to cover Roblox’s ongoing services and operating costs, future-looking investments in the platform, and margins.
We’re sharing these details because transparency is one of our core values and is the foundation of our relationship with our community. We strive to inspire creators’ confidence and we’ll continue to share the actual dollars we give back to the community, rather than opaque percentages or confusing math.
Click here for a detailed explanation of how to earn and calculate earnings on Roblox.
We’re building a platform that will enable anyone to be a creator, not just those familiar with Roblox Studio or similar 3D content creation software. To do this, we are making it possible for experiences to be places to create anything — a new shirt, a hat, an avatar, a house, or even an entire experience.
Giving people in-experience creation tools will expand our platform’s community of creators and open up more opportunities to express themselves and earn.
We offer many ways for anyone to earn
By offering a wide array of ways to monetize, we’re helping creators of all sizes diversify how they earn, or simply choose the method that feels right to them.
With in-experience purchases, Engagement-Based Payouts, creating and selling virtual items, or being an affiliate, we already offer several ways for creators to monetize their content and the ability to choose what works best for them.
People want to build meaningful connections with their favorite brands and creators on Roblox just like in the real world. So we recently rolled-out our Immersive Ads system, which lets brands reach and engage our users while simultaneously allowing developers who show ads in their experiences to earn. Immersive Ads offer the opportunity for incremental earnings without negatively impacting the user experience or engagement.
In order to scale this new ads business, we recently announced our Roblox Partner Program . Its community-forward approach engages a broad network of platform advocates — from Roblox developer studios to early adopters among agencies, brands, and third-party sellers — in creating a brand ecosystem based on education and best practices. Program focus areas include platform education, research and measurement, product/content innovation, and Immersive Ads.
We believe this collaboration will help brands create a persistent, authentic, and engaging presence on the platform, while also delivering value to people on Roblox.
As we look ahead, we’re building the tools for developers to create subscriptions within their experience. This will help them to establish a recurring economic relationship with their users and potentially increase the predictability of their earnings. It will also help ensure our users have a steady flow of content that’s relevant to them. This is just one of our steps towards offering a broad suite of ways creators can earn.
Making our vision a reality
When we think about Roblox’s future, we envision a platform where anyone can be a buyer, creator, seller, curator, or IP owner. We imagine new categories of virtual items and services, with a virtual goods economy based on scarcity, like the real world. Further out, we see the ability to purchase real-world goods within an experience. Creators, including businesses and brands of all sizes, already want a place on Roblox, and when these and other features are launched, we expect even more will want the same.
Time and again we see that when we give our creators powerful tools and opportunities, they create things beyond what we could ever predict. As ambitious as it sounds, we believe that many new careers, industries, and business models will be born on Roblox. We can’t wait to see what our community builds.
2Based on readily available public data for daily or monthly active users of virtual worlds.
3Millions of Creators earn Robux on our platform, ranging from hobbyists to career creators, with the median Creator (Creator ~7.5 million) earning 50 Robux and the average Creator earning 13,500 Robux in 2022. As of December 2022, 11,000 of these creators were qualified and registered for our Developer Exchange Program and cashed out to real-world currency. This number includes hobbyists and career developers alike.
4Grossing refers to the amount of Robux spent by users in the experience.
529% returned directly to the developers of experiences assumes the full amount of Robux earned are exchanged through the DevEx program, and not spent on the platform. Figures are as of March 31, 2023.