The Hidden Market of Roblox

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Jamal shows us “Juju_Jamal_Juju,” the Roblox avatar he created.

By Sara Al Saeid 

Roblox is more than just a virtual online game. It is also a game development platform where users can create games and generate money through Roblox’s Developer Exchange System. 

SHARJAH – “It’s a world that I want to live in. I can be a worm and I can be a construction builder and I can be an artist, and if I die, I can come to life again, and I can live… forever!” 

That was 6-year-old Jamal Al Saeid’s reply when I asked him what Roblox meant to him. The little man was tapping his fingers with so much eagerness on his grandmother’s mobile screen, knowing that at any minute, he would be asked to hand back the phone. 

“It is a game that has a lot of games! The games also have games within them,” said Al Saied, and that Roblox surely was. 

For those of us who are parents, have younger siblings or nephews and nieces, we might be aware of the new kid on the block, Roblox. An online game that resembles a metaverse, where users can create avatars, style them, dress them and buy them stuff using the game’s online currency, known as Robux. 

“In Roblox, I can’t buy a lot of stuff, because I don’t have enough Robux. For my birthday, I only want Robux. If my family doesn’t buy me a gift, I won’t be sad,” said Al Saied.  

Though Roblox follows a freemium model, users can purchase Robux, which can be spent on features within the game. What many might not know is the hidden market of Roblox, where the Robux users gain can be turned into real money. 

In Roblox, users do not only come together to play games programmed by developers, but they can also develop their own games on the platform. According to Math Scholastic, the platform is home to over 40 million games that have been created by its users. 

Roblox has developed a user-friendly suite of game development tools that allow anyone to create and program games on the platform. The tools range from forums that allow game creators to troubleshoot and learn new skills, if need be, to the utilization of a scripting language called Lua, which is easier to learn than most other programming languages.

What sets Roblox apart from other virtual games is not its meticulous game creation system, but rather, the true asset of its hidden market: Roblox’s Money System. If a game created by a user hits the jackpot, the developer can use the Developer Exchange System by Roblox that allows them to convert Robux into real money. 

According to Roblox’s website, Roblox takes a 30% share of whatever revenue it gets, while the developer gets 70%. 

“I know people can design games on Roblox. I saw it once in a YouTube video. When I turn seven, I want to start designing my own game,” said Al Saeid.  

Though little Al Saeid has one year to think about his game development plans, Ahmad Aljamal, 35, has already kick-started his side career as a game developer on Roblox. 

What began as a parent’s attempt to get more engaged in their child’s interests, turned out to be their side-income. 

“My daughter Judi was completely obsessed with this new game on her tablet. As a parent, I wanted to see what this game was about, so I started playing the game with her,” said Aljamal. 

Aljamal says that having a daughter that plays Roblox was essential for developing games on the platform, as Roblox is dominated by young users, and developers must cater to their audience.

“Not only do I get to spend time with my daughter on the platform and ensure that she is playing a game safe for her age and developed by her father, but I’m also a Dubai-based member of a community of developers that have generated quite some money on Roblox,” said Aljamal. 

Though the hidden market of Roblox is not of interest to Al Saeid’s age group, its game creation system is. By seven, Al Saied plans to develop his easy-mode game, and by eight, he’ll present us with his hard-mode Roblox game. 

When asked if he could make money off Roblox, he said, “I will buy more Roblox skins, I will give my friends some, and the poor, and I’ll save some for when I’m 10.”