Gaming platform Roblox, which has seen a surge of use due to the coronavirus pandemic, now has more than 150 million monthly active users, up from the 115 million it announced in February before the U.S.’s shelter-in-place orders went into effect. The company also said its developer community is on pace to earn over $250 million in 2020, up from the $110 million they earned last year.
These metrics and other company news were announced over the weekend at RDC, Roblox’s annual developer conference that was held virtually for the first time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roblox, to be clear, doesn’t build the games that run on its platform. Instead, it offers the platform for developers to build upon, similar to the App Store. Many of its most popular games are free, monetizing as players spend on in-game items using virtual cash called Robux. Some of the company’s larger individual games, before the pandemic, would average more than 10 million monthly users. And over 10 games as of February claimed more than 1 billion total visits.
Thanks to the pandemic, however, these gaming milestones have significantly increased in size.
During the first part of the year, the Roblox game Adopt Me! reached 1.615 million concurrent users and over 10 billion visits. A new game called Piggy, launched in January 2020, now has over 5 billion plays. Jailbreak surpassed 500,000 concurrent users during a live event held in April 2020.
In total, there are now 345,000 developers on the Roblox platform who are monetizing their games, and over half of Robux being spent in catalog is now being spent on user-generated content (UGC) items, less than 12 months after the UGC catalog program began.
The more than doubling of Roblox developers’ earnings year-over-year is related to a combination of factors, including the platform’s growing game catalog, new development tools, international expansions and, of course, a pandemic that has locked kids indoors away from their friends, forcing them to go online to connect.
On notable factor driving the increased developer earnings, however, was Roblox’s recent introduction of Premium Payouts, which pays developers based on the engagement time of Premium subscribers in their game. Through this system, launched earlier this spring, developers earned $2 million in June 2020 as part of this program alone.
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