This is based on the regular DevForum thread by the same name; I’m posting a topic here because I think having some mature, on topic discussion of it is beneficial to the wider community, and many of us have discussed this already in the Discord.
In particular, I’m wanting to address this video that most of us have seen titled Investigation: How Roblox Is Exploiting Young Game Developers by Quintin Smith.
Here’s my view:
I think the DevEx rates are more fair than they were with the increase in Premium Payouts. I understand Roblox’s dilemma about wanting to reward better quality games (which isn’t possible when it is just a flat DevEx rate with many exploitative games that rely on the vulnerability of children to deceptive practices in order to produce shoddy, cash-grab games).
My problem really comes with how Roblox treats its developers personally. I have seen a shift in how Developer Relations deals with regular developers which is devoid of interaction, support or guidance. There is a production line mentality to developer assistance that means helping a few developers properly is less worthwhile than posting an article that in theory reaches many, but often helps fewer. This was sort of inevitable, because what Developer Relations was in 2016 doesn’t scale to the thousands of developers on the platform. However, I do feel that this should be done better as I know many agree that Developer Relations are not reachable or contactable.
Something I hadn’t really thought about is how nobody is responsible for the mental health of developers, across different age groups. This is something many of us spend a significant portion of our lives doing, and I know of so many (including myself) who struggle with the pressure from our communities, from the platform and just generally from the very stressful industry of game development. Considering most of us don’t work for companies and do this in our own time, there isn’t anyone who has the duty of care over us as employees; Roblox certainly doesn’t fit this epithet - my question for discussion is who should?
In my view, for Roblox developers to be treated properly they need to be treated differently than platform users. They shouldn’t be as liable to the same risk-averse platform moderation which is necessary for the millions of active players in order to keep the game safe; in my view, the risks of an incorrect ban and the ending of someone’s livelihood far outweigh the residual risk of those developers posing a safety risk to other users. There also should be dedicated support lines for developers, regardless of seniority or profitability to talk directly to platform staff. I think this will help Roblox grow out of this appearance of exploitation, and developers feel more like they’re collaborating with staff.
I’m hoping this will start a dialogue where we can think about the points made by this video; I for one am sceptical to call myself exploited, but there are many great points that are made in the video regarding treatment of developers. What do you think?