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 Roblox  is trying to foster the next generation of indie devs

Roblox is trying to foster the next generation of indie devs

January 28, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

The Roblox Corporation is attempting to position its massively multiplayer online world-builder Roblox as a launching pad for a career in independent game development by allowing players to make money exchanging in-game currency -- which they can earn by selling game content they've created -- for real cash.

The company says Roblox players have earned over $60,000 via its Developer Exchange, which was established late last year to allow players to trade Robux for cash at a variable rate. Robux can be acquired in-game from other players, or in exchange for real money via micro-transactions or a monthly subscription. They are used in a variety of in-game transactions like purchasing access to user-created games, assets and the like.

It's also worth noting that the company is looking to expand into publishing later this year, to bring select user-created Roblox games to market as standalone mobile apps in the near future.

“We are exploring taking individual games from Roblox, wrapping them up as apps and delivering them into app stores," said Roblox Corp. Marketing vice president Brad Justus, who spoke to Gamasutra briefly via phone about the company's intent to foster young game developers.

“In order to encourage young developers, we’re trying to become more of a publisher ourselves. We’re a platform, like the lovechild of LEGO and YouTube and Steam,” said Justus. “As we become a publisher of games that people develop on Roblox, they will get a revenue share on the stuff we publish out.”

Justus claims the company doesn't yet know the terms under which it will share revenue from the games it publishes. The Roblox Corp. has already experimented with publishing a few Roblox games developed by internal teams, including Space Knights and Hang Out in a Disco and Chat.

According to Justus, Roblox -- which started as an offshoot of physics-based educational software -- has players that are just now entering the industry. While content built within Roblox certainly can't be taken out and sold on other platforms, the skills learned while building content in Roblox Studio -- a “Lego-like CAD program” where assets can be created and then scripted using a version of Lua -- might help aspiring developers down the road.

"This is just an anecdote, but we ran into some people at GDC last year who had an indie game up on Steam now, called StarForge," said Justus. "The guy who came by said 'Hi' and said 'Oh yeah, we love Roblox, we started on Roblox.'"

"I think we have the next generation of game developers playing right now."

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