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Does Roblox Exploit Young Developers?

Photo from Oberon Copeland via Unsplash

Does Roblox Exploit Young Developers?

By Movieguide® Contributor

The gaming community is wondering whether Roblox helps or harms young developers.

Rather than offering players an experience created by its own developers, it instead offers users the ability to create, play and share games of their own, which they can then monetize, not always to their own benefit.

However, Eurogamer released a watchdog report on the game earlier this month, warning that the platform exploits child labor by taking a cut of the profit on games created by minors. While it is reasonable for the platform to collect a fee for hosting the game, the problem comes from the high percentage cut that it takes.

“The accusation then involved the system of paying developers a fraction of their in-game earnings via Roblox’s in-game currency, Robux, and Roblox also selling those Robux at a much higher price than it buys them,” the Eurogamer reported. “This largely remains the same today, with 1000 Robux currently cashing out at $3.50, while buying 1000 Robux costs the equivalent of around $12.50.”

This $9 difference amounts to Roblox keeping over 70% of the profit while dishing out less than 30%, despite the players putting in the effort to create the games. This discrepancy is especially worrying for young creators who may not realize that the cut they are receiving is absurdly low.

Roblox has since responded to this report, explaining that the majority of its monetized creators are older than 18, while the site’s creation tools are mainly used for leisure or learning.

“The Roblox platform serves a broad community of creators. People of all ages and backgrounds start creating on Roblox for many different reasons – to learn to code, to share their creations with friends, or simply for the joy of building,” the response said.

“In a survey conducted by Roblox and completed by more than 6,500 Roblox creators in Q4 2023, when asked about what motivates them to develop experiences on Roblox, having fun ranked 4x higher than monetization,” the company explained. “For the subset of the creator community who wish to pursue monetization, Roblox offers a unique value proposition.”

“As our platform has scaled, our monetization developers and creators have enjoyed meaningful earnings expansion over time through the Roblox Developer Exchange (DevEx) program, which is the means by which creators monetize their games and experiences,” the response added. “In 2023, we delivered more than $741 million to the creator community through the DevEx program.”

The company also reiterated in its response that the majority of its creators are not children and have chosen to develop as a career.

“For the experiences that monetize, the majority are created by developers who are aged 18 or older,” the response said. “Of the creators who are enrolled in the Roblox DevEx program, the overwhelming majority are over the age of 18. The average age for top earning and/or engaging developers is around 25 years old.”

For those who are minors, Roblox studio boss Stefano Corazza says that what they are learning is paramount to what they earn.

“And imagine the millions of kids that learn how to code every month,” he said. “I think that we are really focusing on the learning – the curriculum, if you want – and really bringing people on and empowering them to be professionals.”

Nonetheless, the DevEx program treats minors and adults the same, offering them shockingly low returns on the revenue they bring in for the site. The roughly 30/70 split in favor of Roblox is borderline exploitative, especially for children who do not know any better.

The questionable DevEx returns are not the only place Roblox employs exploitative practices to generate billions for the company. The proliferation of gambling on the site is another area young users are placed at risk for the sake of profits.

Movieguide® previously reported:

Roblox Corp. and its subsidiaries, which run the popular game Roblox, were hit with a class action lawsuit for allowing minors to gamble on the platform.

“Roblox registers each and every exchange of Robux for gambling credits and allows illicit gambling, by minors, using the Roblox website,” the lawsuit says. “All of the gambling transactions require Roblox’s affirmative support to continue. Roblox profits from these transactions to the detriment of its users, including its minor, adolescent and teenage users.”

Rather than function like a typical game, Roblox offers users access to the building blocks to create their own games, which they can upload for others to play. One of the systems native to the site is the transaction of Robux, a virtual currency that can be purchased for real money at an exchange rate of roughly 800 credits per $9.99.

While there are a variety of reasons players may choose to purchase and spend Robux, one of the most common is gambling. Numerous players have set up casinos on the site which illegally cater to minors.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.