Twins Pay Off Parents’ Mortgage After Earning £200,000 Making Video Games
Matthew and Ben Horton, who created their first game on the platform Roblox aged 13, earn more than triple the average UK salary each by creating games online.
The 20-year old brothers from Norfolk now earn at least £100,000 a year each. Making good use of their fortunes, the twins have paid off their parent’s mortgage, are funding their siblings’ university careers, and have dropped out of sixth-form to pursue their online careers full time.
Matt and Ben’s first successful game was called Boat Ride, and required users to navigate a world of attractions.
Free to play, the twins quickly found a way to earn £5 a day by selling products or optional perks, such as a jet pack to fly around the game, to enhance the experience.
When we started we were 13, working nine to five in the Christmas holidays. We only got about £1 a week pocket money, so that £5 was a lot – it bought about 5,000 marshmallows!
The brothers are completely self-taught, with Matt teaching himself video production so he could make trailers for the games, while Ben learned programming and user interface design so he could make functional, enjoyable games.
They have since expanded and now create videos, software and merchandise, as well as games, for sale on the platform.
The next step in their plan is to move to the US and start their own company, as ‘it would allow us to be where our audience and other developers are’, Matt said.
The brothers, who have always loved gaming, first discovered Roblox in 2010, a platform that allows users to create and monetise their own games.
It gave access to whacky, interesting creations by hundreds of people. It was a new thing which was fascinating. For the first three years after finding Roblox, we just played the games. Then in the 2013 Christmas holidays, we started experimenting with creating our own game and that really kick-started our career.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gaming industry has seen a surge in interest.
Newzoo, the leading global provider of games and esports analytics, predicts the international gaming market in 2020 will be worth £120 billion – up 9.3% from last year. Almost half of this increase will come from the mobile market, which is expected to reach 2.5 billion players this year.
The twins have also seen engagement rise with their own games, by about 30-40% during lockdown.
‘Before COVID-19, my videos were getting five million views and as COVID-19 hit, they averaged 10 million views, so they doubled,’ Matt said.
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