Roblox, the leading online gaming platform, has announced the release of a new class of wearable virtual goods called Limiteds. These items can be sold by third-party creators in limited quantities and resold by users at any price, with 10% of each secondary sale going to the original creator. While the concept bears similarities to NFTs, there is one critical difference: Limiteds do not live on the blockchain and are therefore unable to leave the Roblox platform.
Despite this distinction, the addition of Limiteds marks a significant turning point for Roblox, which reported 67.3 million daily active users in February. The platform’s move towards a more dynamic, NFT-esque economic environment in which creators and users can leverage scarcity and speculation is an attempt to create healthier marketplace dynamics that benefit everyone involved. To prevent creators from flooding the marketplace with an excessive number of items for quick returns, the company requires creators to make an upfront payment based on the asset’s type and number of items being issued. Once an item is sold, this upfront payment is returned to the creator.
Unlike NFT marketplaces, Roblox’s profit-sharing model for Limiteds sales is considerably less generous. Roblox takes 30% of any initial sale, with creators receiving 30%, and sellers receiving 40%. All sales in the Roblox avatar store are made with Robux, a non-crypto virtual currency issued by the platform.
While Limiteds lack blockchain backing, the Roblox avatar store tracks an item’s price history over time. The platform’s adoption of a more dynamic, NFT-esque economic environment is a clear indication that the company’s leadership is closely monitoring the rapidly developing economy of NFT-backed virtual assets used in metaverse games like Decentraland and The Sandbox.
Although the innovation of Limiteds shows that Roblox is embracing popular aspects of NFTs like digital scarcity, it remains a “walled garden” online ecosystem where virtual goods remain captive on a single platform. Developers of open, interoperable virtual worlds like Decentraland and The Sandbox, on the other hand, strive to create virtual goods that can flow freely between platforms, thanks to the blockchain.
Roblox is not the only Web2 company to adopt popular aspects of NFTs without actually employing the blockchain. DSTLRY, a newly revealed digital comics platform, is issuing finite runs of digital comics that can be resold on the company’s marketplace, with a percentage of each resale benefiting the comic’s creator. However, those comics similarly lack blockchain backing and cannot move off of DSTLRY’s proprietary platform.