October 5, 2019

Roblox, the gaming platform with which some teenagers are earning millions of dollars

David Baszucki is an engineer who wanted to create a program that would awaken children's interest in physics.

Instead, he ended up designing Robux Generator, a gaming platform with which some teenagers are earning millions and that this year has surpassed the popular Minecraft in users.

If you are over 20 years old, it is very likely that you have not heard of it.

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Although it has been in the market for 12 years , it does not star in many headlines or is well known to the general public.

In 2015, it only had 5 million players monthly. At the end of July this year, however, these already amounted to 62 million .

Of these, 8 million live in Latin America.

What is Roblox and how did he win over the little ones?

Games made by children

Baszucki's first business venture was Knowledge Revolution, a pedagogical software company dedicated to physics and mechanical simulation programs.

This became a leader in its sector, according to the database of startups CrunchBase.

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The company was integrated into MSC Software in 2000 and, five years later, Baszucki launched another product to bring the secrets of physics to children: Roblox.

The original idea was for children to use the platform to create objects while learning about physics .

But the students found a more interesting use: they began to experiment designing their own worlds.

This is how the firm decided to open the program to allow the development of games.

Today, more than 29 million were born in its bosom .

The Xbox, a success factor

Although Roblox exists for more than a decade, it was not until last year, when it included the Xbox among its media , that its number of users skyrocketed.

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The firm has also since introduced new features as tools that make it easy to play with one hand or using the camera at the same time as the game , in "portrait mode".

This and the possibility of sharing the results with friends has increased its use from mobile phones.

The peculiarity of Roblox is that it is the users who design the games with the help of Roblox Studio , a tool that facilitates the process.

Children up to six years have ventured to generate their own plots, the company told BBC Mundo.

Currently, almost 2 million people have created at least one game on the platform.

Easy programming
"We make it very easy," said a company representative.

"Our excellent creation environment allows developers to build 3D games that are released on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox One and Oculus Rift at the same time," he told BBC Mundo.

The result is obvious on its home page: rudimentary games with almost geometric graphics alternate with others of varying degrees of sophistication.

The newest are limited to the basic functions of Roblox Studio. The doubles use their knowledge in the lua programming language to achieve a more professional finish.

"There are no limits in terms of user experience and the ability to learn while having fun," the company said.

In the last year, several youtubers have discovered the platform and are conducting tutorials that are contributing to increasing the popularity of Roblox.

Earn millions
The elegant graphics and the seductive glow of the world of Jailbreak can give the feeling that a professional programmer is behind this game in which you have to escape from a prison.

Its authorship, however, falls to two teenagers in Florida who can now finance their university studies with the money earned with their creation.

This year, they expect to bill a seven-digit figure.

Miner's Heaven is another example of a millionaire game. It was launched two years ago by Andrew Bereza, a young man from New Jersey who has just reached the age of majority.

Both cases are an example of the seriousness with which some teenagers take Roblox.

The founders of Jailbreak came to invest in outsourcing the image and sound design to achieve a "more polished" result, Alex Balfanz, one of them, revealed a month ago to the Business Insider portal.

From players to developers

The natural evolution in Roblox is to start playing as a child and, as you grow older, become a developer.

"The nice thing about Roblox is that you start playing, but the more you do it, the more you want to start creating," the firm explained.

Hence, the average age of its players is between 9 and 12 years and that of its developers, between 15 and 22.

Although many frames are totally free, in some there are payment elements. Children under 18 need the consent of their parents to be able to charge for their creations.

The company estimates that, if the current pace is maintained, this year it will distribute more than US $ 30 million among its developers.

Whose patent is it?
In principle, the intellectual property of games created in Roblox belongs to the developers .

But the company clarified that it reserves the right to patent them or convert them into other types of content, such as movies or series.

"But we have a standard agreement with the developers to earn a commission, " the firm's representative told BBC Mundo.

For example, Playmobil-like figures of the most popular characters on the platform are for sale on the Internet.

These will soon add clothing and books .

Is it safe for my son to play in Roblox?
Some portals of parents advise against letting children play at Roblox.

Family Zone, for example, considers it "dangerous" because of the lack of moderation in private chats created on the platform.

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Interaction is one of the most important elements of Roblox, where players and developers talk and give advice.

The roadmap for the following years includes increasing this component, so many believe that it will eventually become a social network.

Family Zone believes that scenarios like these can be used by "predators."

To these criticisms, the company responded that the safety of minors is a "priority" and that parents can determine filters and disable the chat tool .

The Common Sense Media organization, which ensures safe content on the Internet and the media, gives it a score of 4 out of 5 in terms of security and recommends it for people over 10 years.