The Roblox platform boasts nearly 60 million daily active users, and several of its most popular games have hit impressive visit counts in the billions. For example, Adopt Me! (#1 game in terms of all-time visits) has over 30 billion lifetime visits. But when you see the number of visits a game has (which is listed on each Roblox game page), you don't really know how many individual people played that game.
If a game has 50 million visits, was it because 50 million people came just once? Or did a smaller group of people like the game a lot and come back repeatedly? Understanding this dynamic can help brands and game makers figure out what's needed to make a successful game that reaches millions of visits.
Welcome Badges = Unique Users
In exploring several Roblox game pages, I was happy to discover that some games (not all) list out the available badges that players can earn. One of the most common badges is a "welcome" badge that players receive automatically for just joining a game.
When you see this badge, it tells you how rare the badge is, how many people won it yesterday, and how many people have won it ever. Since you can only win a welcome badge one time, the "won ever" number indicates individual players. It's a de-duplicated number. Which means...the number of people who have ever won a welcome badge is the same as the number of unique players.
With this information, we are in business! Now we can get a better grasp of how many players play these games and how often they come back.
Here's a look a the My Hello Kitty Cafe game page...
Lifetime Visits / Unique Users = Average Number of Sessions per User
So Roblox provides lifetime visits data, and now we've discovered a cool way to figure out unique users (for those games that have welcome badges). With those two data points, we can start to see how frequently players play specific games. We simply divide lifetime visits by unique users. That gives the average number of sessions per unique user.
By calculating this, we can see which games are the ones that are bringing players back regularly and which ones are not.
Top Games Have High Retention
Well, it should be no surprise that the top three games in this list, which each have over 100 million visits, all have very high average session counts:
Miraculous RP: 12.4
Sonic Speed Simulator: 10.4
My Hello Kitty Cafe: 8.7
Since these are averages, there are clearly some players who have played the games hundreds if not thousands of times. And those super active players are almost certainly the players who are spending money (via Roblox's in-game currency Robux) on virtual items and passes to level up within the games.
Based on these results, it's clear that the pathway to having a wildly successful game that gets hundreds of millions of visits and opens the door to potential monetization is...making a great game that people want to play over and over. It's sounds obvious, but I'm sure it's a simple approach that many game developers, and especially brands, don't pay enough attention to.
Brands That Have Failed at Engagement
A couple of brands that were very low in the rankings (and didn't crack into the top 20) were Walmart Land (1.5 avg sessions per user) and Shavetopia (1.2 avg sessions per user) from Philips Norelco. Based on the data, it appears that neither of these games was very fun or created an effective game loop that enticed users to come back. For most players trying out these games, they came one time, and that was enough.
Which begs the question, "if you make a branded game on Roblox that people don't want to play, was it even worth building in the first place?" Is that game leaving a net negative impression on users instead of converting them into brand fans and evangelists?
While I commend all brands who are brave enough to take the plunge onto Roblox to learn how to connect with younger audiences in virtual worlds, I want to stress the importance of execution.
Don't just show up and expect to succeed. Build a fun game that meets Roblox players where they are and delivers tons of value, not just whatever your brand wants to show off.
Stephen Dypiangco is the CEO of Metaverse Marcom, a strategy and consulting firm helping entertainment and sports brands enter the metaverse.