Roblox is developing tools that will let developers offer subscriptions within their experiences, according to a blog post published Tuesday, which could prove to be a major new way for developers to make money in their experiences.
Roblox already offers developers a lot of ways to monetize their experiences, including the ability to sell virtual items in an experience or on the Roblox marketplace, offering in-experience passes to certain content and gating experiences behind paid access. However, those examples are all one-time fees, and Roblox argues that subscriptions would offer a way for developers to “establish a recurring economic relationship with their users and potentially increase the predictability of their earnings.” (Other monetization options include subscriptions to private servers, engagement-based payouts, and slotting in Roblox’s “Immersive Ads.”)
Subscriptions would also give Roblox another thing it can point to as a reason to develop for its metaverse platform instead of others. Epic Games’ new system for Fortnite, for example, rewards creators based on factors like how long people play their experiences but doesn’t allow creators to directly sell virtual goods or subscriptions inside those experiences. Developers looking for more flexibility in how they monetize might choose Roblox instead.
Roblox didn’t specify when the subscriptions might be available, so you probably shouldn’t build an experience around them just yet. I also hope Roblox is thinking about controls that prevent the large number of kids that play the game from inadvertently signing up for subscriptions they or their parents don’t actually want to pay for.
In the blog post, Roblox also said that “further out,” it sees “the ability to purchase real-world goods within an experience” as something it could offer, but there’s no specific timetable for that, either.