A recent Roblox shop update that changes the search functionality may make it more difficult for users to discover and purchase avatar items from independent creators. As a result, Robloxians are lashing out over the update and questioning the sandbox game’s commitment to its creator community.
“Roblox has removed the ‘Community Creations’ category from the Avatar Shop. All UGC accessories and clothing are now combined with Roblox-made items under their specified categories,” the Bloxy News Twitter account first reported on August 15.
The change initially appears minor but could have a significant impact on discoverability. Players no longer have an easy way to separate community creations from Roblox creations. While Roblox still allows people to search for avatar items by ‘Roblox,’ ‘All Creators,’ and specific creators by typing in their username, there’s no option to search for only creators.
Some Robloxians think this puts an extra barrier that makes it increasingly difficult to discover avatar items from up-and-coming user-generated content creators. By including these UGC with Roblox-created goods, visual real estate that would have highlighted items by independent creators instead shows items directly from Roblox.
“The removal of Community Creations is not only a disaster for creators discoverability but also a tragedy for users trying to find the best the avatar shop has to offer,” Twitter user Reverse_Polarity shared. “I cant imagine what they’re thinking by removing it but it hurts everyone and helps no one.”
In practice, the lack of the ability to sort by ‘Community Creations’ is already having an impact. In the ‘View All Items’ category, when filtered by ‘All Creators,’ the first 82 items that show up are free items from Roblox. And even upon entering a minimum price of 100 Robux, the first 18 items are Roblox items.
It’s possible users were under-utilising the tab, and developers thought it would be best to remove it. But, without more insight into why the team made such a decision, independent creators may feel this is a Roblox cash grab, which may be much-needed due to Wall Street’s increasing scepticism about the company’s most recent earnings reports. Some UGC designers can make a living from sales generated through Roblox, sometimes earning as much as a million dollars per year. However, most won’t be lucky enough to gain that type of exposure and recognition and instead hope to reach Robloxians through the platform itself. The Community Creations tab existed, it seemed, to help Roblox users discover their creations.
Whether this was an intentional push for Roblox to provide more opportunities to push their avatar items, it seems like a misguided choice on a platform where discoverability is already a concern among creators. If Roblox is a platform that prioritises creators, as Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki recently reiterated, then discoverability should be one of its highest priorities.
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