The coronavirus pandemic has hit a lot of industries hard. But for certain companies, all that time spent at home has been a boon.
That’s almost definitely the case for Roblox, the online game-creation and game-playing platform that was released in 2006 and is now reportedly used by about 150 million people across the globe every month. That’s now more than its rival Minecraft, which reportedly had about 126 million active monthly users globally as of May.
To get a handle on the scope of the Roblox phenomenon, CivicScience asked Americans (ages 13+) about their own experience, and (when applicable) their kids’ experience with Roblox, including how they’re accessing it and how much money they’re spending on the platform.
To start off, about 6% of Americans age 13 and up say that they, themselves, play on the Roblox platform. And among U.S. parents ages 18 to 54 (not including grandparents), 22% say their children play Roblox.
As far as teenage and adult players go, it’s no surprise that Roblox usage skews younger. While 22% of 13- to 17-year-olds say they play, only 6% of 18- to 54-year-olds say the same. And let’s just say that it’s quite rare to find a Roblox player born before 1965.
It might come as a surprise that, among Roblox users, smartphones and mobile devices were just a hair beneath desktop computers as the most popular methods of playing. Notably, only 13% of U.S. Roblox users ages 13-plus say they play using a video game console.
From the responses collected from parents on behalf of their children, it appears that mobile play options (tablets and smartphones) are more popular than computer play among kids. Children were also more likely than teens or adults to play on a video game console.
When it comes to spending money on the Roblox platform, about half of all respondents (ages 13 and up) who have at least one Roblox player in their household say their household doesn’t spend any money on Roblox in a typical month. However, it appears there are plenty of households that buy “Robux” (the in-game currency) on a regular basis. This jives with a claim on Roblox’s website that its top game creators earn $2 million per year by offering in-game purchases. It’s big business.
Compare monthly spending on Roblox with spending on extras in Minecraft, another massive online game. While just more than half of Roblox households spent some amount of money on the platform each month, only 4 in 10 Minecraft households did the same.
Astoundingly, among Roblox households only, income essentially plays no role in determining how much Roblox users spent on the platform on a monthly basis. In other words, households earning less than $50,000 per year were, statistically speaking, no less likely to spend more than $50 per month on Roblox than households bringing in more than $100,000 per year.
It’s becoming clear that Roblox now has a wider reach among young children and teenagers in the U.S. than Minecraft. That goes along with a greater willingness among many Roblox players of all incomes (and their parents) to spend big on the platform each month.