Roblox and the Market for Virtual Experiences

Satia Rożynek

Analyst DELab UW
DELab UW, Faculty of Economic Sciences UW
A PhD candidate at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences at the University of Warsaw in the discipline of economics and finance. Her research deals with the digital transformation of the labour market and its consequences for employees in the context of automation of tasks performed. In DELab UW since August 2018, where she deals with data analysis and visualization, mainly using Tableau software. She has collaborated, among others, in a project with PFR and Google on teaching future competences in the educational system, as well as in projects about the transformation of work in the banking sector in the context of digital transformation, or the impact of the pandemic crisis on the functioning of families and women in the labor market.


Analyst DELab UW

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Digi­tal enter­ta­in­ment moves away from one-time events and games towards susta­ina­ble expe­rien­ces in which people can par­ti­ci­pa­te toge­ther. The­se types of vir­tu­al eco­sys­tems sup­port the­ir own eco­no­mies with the exchan­ge of vir­tu­al cur­ren­cy, digi­tal items, and user-gene­ra­ted con­tent. Howe­ver, despi­te the­ir gro­wing impor­tan­ce, they rema­in lar­ge­ly unstu­died, espe­cial­ly from a quan­ti­ta­ti­ve side. 

To unco­ver what dri­ves the­se eco­no­mies, we focus on one such vir­tu­al eco­sys­tem – Roblox – which cur­ren­tly boasts more than 200 mil­lion uni­que users mon­th­ly. Roblox is an onli­ne plat­form that allows any­one to play over 24 mil­lion user-gene­ra­ted games (cal­led expe­rien­ces) and con­tri­bu­te with the­ir own con­tent. In this stu­dy, we aim to inve­sti­ga­te what deter­mi­nes the suc­cess­ful­ness and susta­ina­bi­li­ty of vir­tu­al expe­rien­ces. We have col­lec­ted daily records on more than a mil­lion uni­que expe­rien­ces from the Roblox API, with an addi­tio­nal web-scra­ped data col­lec­tion on a sub­sam­ple of new­ly cre­ated ones using. 

In line with cur­rent deba­tes in the digi­tal enter­ta­in­ment indu­stries, we find that to reta­in play­ers the expe­rien­ces need to evo­lve, but also to allow for social inte­rac­tion. More­over, the newer expe­rien­ces seem to bene­fit from inte­ro­pe­ra­bi­li­ty (i.e. allo­wing to car­ry «gear» from one expe­rien­ce to ano­ther) and pro­vi­ding incen­ti­ves in the form of spe­cial «bad­ges» to the­ir par­ti­ci­pants. Final­ly, we pro­vi­de addi­tio­nal insi­ght on how the vir­tu­al expe­rien­ces are mone­ti­zed and what dri­ves the con­tent cre­ation in the­se kinds of eco­no­mies. We con­si­der this stu­dy as one of the ear­ly looks at the gro­wing vir­tu­al eco­no­my and the­se kinds of ecosystems.

A series of Polish-language meetings during which researchers and guest speakers look at issues related to digital transformation, new technologies, innovation and digital research methods.

The aim of the "Digitisation under the closer look of science" seminars is to build cooperation between academia, the public sector and business. Scientists share their research findings and have the opportunity to discuss them with experts. The results of their work are available on the DELab UW website.

Favicona DELab
Roblox and the Market for Virtual Experiences
Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw
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