Roblox has some immense aspirations for its so-called economy. A blog post from the studio’s VP of Economy Enrico D’Angelo offers a broad strokes look at what is being planned, including more player-built cosmetic features, an easier path for those who want to become creators, and a new subscription model that creators can offer to other players.
First, Roblox plans to let creators make and sell customized avatar bodies and heads on the Marketplace by the end of this year. The plan is talked up as a way for artists to get paid for their work and for players to find more ways to represent and express themselves, while also promising an “extremely thoughtful approach” to the feature like opening the opportunity to verified accounts that can be quickly traced back if policy violations occur.
Next, there are vague plans for “in-experience creation tools” that will let more people create in-game items to sell or craft a full game, all without having a deeper knowledge of Roblox Studio or other 3-D creation software. A timeline for this feature’s rollout isn’t specified.
Finally, Roblox plans to release ways for creators to offer subscriptions within their games. Once again there are no details on timing or specifics of how this will work, but D’Angelo talks the idea up as a way for creators to “establish a recurring economic relationship with their users and potentially increase the predictability of their earnings” while also giving players “a steady flow of content that’s relevant to them.”
All of these features are being done in service of continuing to make Roblox “one of the biggest virtual economies on Earth” and a place where new careers, industries, and business models can be born. “When we think about Roblox’s future, we envision a platform where anyone can be a buyer, creator, seller, curator, or IP owner,” D’Angelo argues. “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.”
Readers will recall that Roblox is widely regarded in the gaming industry as a deeply problematic platform that has weathered multiple scandals and controversies, from exploitation of child labor to questionable monetization to “advergames” (which the platform has since decided to lean directly in to). Regardless, it would seem Roblox’s form of “company town” creation is only going to balloon from here.