If you don't already know, Roblox is not a single game. Rather, Roblox is a platform that has over 40 millions games on it. Those games span a variety of formats from first person shooters and survival games to tycoons and role-playing games. But no matter the type of game, all games on the platform are designed and built by Roblox creators. Sometimes these creators are individuals such as teenagers, and other times they're professional companies with robust teams.
Fan-Made Games Using Entertainment IP
Sometimes Roblox creators make games that feature well-known IP from television, movies, and other pop culture sources. Why do they do this? Well, probably to express their fandom for the property, to attract more attention to their game, or some combination of those two.
Are creators allowed to do this? Technically, no they're not allowed to do. Creators need to get permission before using someone else's intellectual property. But there's a bit of a gray area because not all IP owners treat these unofficial UGC games the same.
Some companies don't like others using their IP without proper permission, so they work to have these games removed from the platform by issuing takedown notices. Other companies see the value of this fan-driven activity, both the creation of the games and players spending time in them. So in these cases, these companies look at this activity as free promotion and let the community use their IP (or at least don't issue takedown notices).
How We Came Up With Our Rankings
Having observed a number of well-known IP brands on the platform, we at Metaverse Marcom decided to do deeper dive into the data around these user-created games that use entertainment IP.
We searched top entertainment brands across movies, tv, and video within Roblox, which produced a wide range of results. Some IP was very popular with lots of UGC games created with hundreds of millions of visits to those games. But other well-established IP only had a few UGC games with very few visits.
What Does This Data Tell Us?
Squid Game Was Massive
When you look at the over 3 billion visits to Squid Game-related UGC games, they exceed the visits to the remaining 9 games on this Top 10 list... COMBINED. Holy cow. That's huge.
Squid Game was a major hit for Netflix in 2021 that trended worldwide. Apparently, the Korean TV series struck a massive chord with Roblox players. There are lots of popular Squid Game-inspired Roblox games that let players mimic the challenges featured in the show, including red light / green light and shattering glass obbys.
The fact that an entertainment property that's less than 2 years old dominates this list speaks to how the robust Roblox community really latches onto trends happening in the world. This Squid Game + Roblox example shows that when an entertainment brand is able to break through to become a global hit, the interest in related ancillary content and experiences is massive and drives tons of engagement that fans crave deeply.
Harry Potter is Still Huge
With the recent release of the Hogwarts Legacy video game, the Harry Potter franchise has proven that it is still very relevant and can drive significant sales. Between the Potter books and all of the movies (the last Harry Potter movie came out in 2011, but the most recent Fantastic Beasts movie came out in 2022), Harry Potter has remained relevant to young audiences for many years. So it should not be a surprise that this IP, along with its core theme of magic and school setting are resonating with Roblox game creators and players.
YouTube Itself is Popular
Youtube is different than all of the other entertainment properties on this list. Instead of being a movie, tv show or influencer, it's a tech platform, just like Roblox. Google-owned YouTube probably sees Roblox as a competitor, but it could tap into this audience in interesting ways, just like it uses other rival social media platforms like Instagram.
Why is Youtube so popular on Roblox? Well, it seems to be because kids want to be YouTubers. And rather than going through all of the trouble of coming up with an idea and shooting a YouTube video, kids can live out their YouTuber dreams on Roblox. On Roblox they can become a famous Youtuber by playing one of the popular YouTube-related games such as YouTuber Tycoon or YouTube Simulator.
Mr Beast Video Formats Translate Well Into Games
The Mr Beast empire started on YouTube, but the savvy influencer has expanded his reach significantly through a variety of ventures, including launching Beast Burger restaurants and Feastables chocolate bars. And apparently, he's doing quite well on Roblox as well without even trying.
Like Squid Game, Mr Beast content features a variety of challenges that translate very well into the Roblox platform. For fans of Mr Beast's videos who dream of participating in one of his challenges that have big cash prizes, they can live out their fantasy by simply playing one of the unofficial games that leverage his name and creative concepts.
I just also have to note that this twenty-something YouTuber is beating out massive IP on this list such as Star Wars and Transformers. That in and of itself speaks to the huge shift in where young audiences are placing their limited attention.
Disney Has Lots of Popular IP
Of the top 10 entertainment brands on this list, 4 of them are owned by Disney: Spider-Man (Disney and Sony co-produce the Tom Holland Spidey films), Iron Man, Encanto, and Star Wars.
It's very interesting that Disney has taken a hands-off approach to Roblox, letting so many unofficial games exist. But to Disney's credit, by letting fans use their IP, these top properties alone, not counting everything else Marvel or Disney princess related, have amassed over 1.4 billion visits. That's a lot of impressions and engagement time earned for free. Well done, Disney.
Entertainment Brands That Didn't Make the Cut
Here are some additional brands that performed well, but not enough to crack the Top 10:
Wednesday (Netflix / MGM): 171M visits
Minions (Universal): 154M visits
Disney (Disney) 76M visits
Stranger Things (Netflix): 75M visits
Frozen (Disney): 60M visits
WWE (WWE): 46M visits
Recommendations for These Entertainment IP Owners
As I've outlined before, brands can search on Roblox to determine how popular their IP already is within the platform. That's an important first step.
When a company such as Disney or Netflix then realizes that their IP is super popular on Roblox, they should ask themselves these questions:
How are we tracking the fan activity on Roblox?
How are we enabling our biggest fans to share their fandom on Roblox?
How can we accelerate fan growth by entering Roblox ourselves?
If you have a popular entertainment IP that you'd like to explore bringing to Roblox, let us know. We'd be happy to help you figure how to leverage Roblox for growth. Send an email to email@example.com
Stephen Dypiangco is the CEO of Metaverse Marcom, a strategy and consulting firm helping entertainment and sports brands enter Roblox.