By Jay Peters, a news editor who writes about technology, video games, and virtual worlds. He’s submitted several accepted emoji proposals to the Unicode Consortium.
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Roblox is officially completing its rollout of the Creator Hub, a new hub that gives developers more tools and centralizes things like documentation and a developer forum into one place. Making the information easier to find seems like it could be quite helpful for developers, and that has an important aftereffect for Roblox, too: Roblox makes its money by taking a cut of what its developers earn, so it’s incentivized to make things better for the creators on its platform.
Creator Hub aggregates five Roblox resources, Nick Tornow, Roblox’s VP of engineering, tells The Verge:
Roblox’s resources used to be “disparate standalone apps with their own URLs,” Tornow said, but now they’re being consolidated into the one hub. Roblox had observed that developers didn’t know the information was available to them “unless they looked around a lot,” according to Tornow. But the unified hub will make things better for Roblox, too, by letting it do things like more easily hyperlink and connect things from one area to another.
While the Creator Hub will be rolled out to all of Roblox’s more than 12 million developers as of Wednesday, 375,000 daily active users have already been using the Creator Hub, Tornow said. Those that tried it are “really loving it,” in part thanks to features like a user acquisition dashboard and the Talent Hub.
The company set me up with interviews with two developers who have used the Creator Hub, and both seemed to really like the changes (which wasn’t too surprising; the company wouldn’t have me interview them if they didn’t like the new features). Alex Hicks, chief design officer of Twin Atlas, called the new user acquisition dashboard a “missing piece of the puzzle” for analytics on the platform. Vivian Arellano, a digital designer and game developer at Fullflower Studio, likes the documentation that’s available. Both also spoke highly of the Talent Hub (which technically launched in open beta in 2021), saying it gives creators a better option for hiring than soliciting help on Twitter.
Some developers are offering jobs in the low hundreds of Robux
In looking through the Talent Hub myself, though, I was surprised to see some developers offering jobs in the low hundreds of Robux, the platform’s special currency. To get an idea of just how paltry that would be, buying 400 Robux costs $4.99. And when developers can’t cash out Robux into real currency until they earn at least 50,000 Robux, creators that are only able to take those jobs would have to work a lot of them to earn into real money. Many listings appear to offer fairer rates, but the low-rate jobs could increase concerns about how the platform exploits kid developers.
But overall, the Creator Hub seems like it could be a boon for the Roblox developer ecosystem. Roblox already has some big success stories: in June 2022, 2.7 million creators earned Robux, according to Tornow. He also said that “dozens” of experiences have more than a billion visits, and I am guessing those experiences are quite lucrative for their creators.
If you’re a Roblox developer, I’d love to hear your thoughts about Creator Hub and about developing for the platform. You can reach me at email@example.com.
That said, Roblox relies on creators to make experiences that get people to come to the app so that it can take its cut of purchases. (It takes a larger cut than most other platforms: the company estimates that it gives developers 29 cents on average “per in-experience dollar spent.”) That means it needs to create an appealing environment for creators; otherwise, they might leave for platforms like the App Store, Google Play, other video games, or other metaverse-y environments like Fortnite.
“We’re trying to build an ecosystem of creation, a whole sector of the economy, that’s building experiences in the metaverse,” Tornow said. “We think everyone who uses Roblox can be a creator, and that may take different forms of creating clothing or outfits or avatars or whole experiences,” he added later. “But creation is a key part of living, and it should be a key part of living in the metaverse.”
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