Roblox over the last few years has quietly become a significant source of creator earnings. More than 12 million of these game developers, many of them individuals, collectively generated $538.3 million in revenue last year. Still, like other online services that benefited from a huge boost of interest during the pandemic shutdowns, Roblox—and its gaming creators—face the challenge of keeping momentum going. Two changes announced this weekend are likely to reinforce creators’ willingness to spend their time on the platform.
Before the end of the year, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company will test ads that players can interact with inside games. Some of those ads might act as portals, which can move users back and forth into a brand’s virtual experience. In a demo, Roblox showed an avatar walking to a Vans poster, which took it into Vans World, a branded virtual skatepark. Creators will also be able to launch and earn money from their own immersive ads using a self-serve platform. Such ads expand beyond what Roblox already sells: partnerships with brands like Chipotle, Nike and Mattel that can launch their own virtual worlds, games or digital asset collections.