Roblox is a Calfiornia-based company that has constructed a user-generated online gaming platform, with over fifteen million games created by users. The games are based in virtual reality and can be played across platforms While the platform has a large emphasis on gaming, it has begun prioritizing virtual meeting places and the company has stated a goal to create a large-scale metaverse.
Games can be played by all ages, but the platform is mostly targeted towards children, with over 54% of all users being under the age of thirteen, according to Roblox. The platform hosts a filtered chat with a whitelist of certain words acceptable for children under the age of thirteen, and a blacklist of unacceptable words.
Although the platform and the company have been relatively small since launch, they have witnessed huge growth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has seen Roblox increase in valuation from $4 billion to $29.5 billion from February 2020 to January 2021, attributed to increased use by children while under pandemic lockdown. Roblox recorded $924 million in revenue in 2020, an 82% increase from 2019.
Roblox went public via NYSE direct listing on March 11, 2021, and ended its first trading day with a $38 billion market cap. Shares for the company close at $69.47, for a fully diluted value of $45.3 billion.
Roblox is largely targeted at children and teenagers, with over 54% of all users being under the age of thirteen. According to the platform, over three out of every four children in the US aged nine to twelve are on Roblox, as well as half of every UK ten year-old.
Roblox user age distribution
Compared to most online gaming platforms, Roblox is largely even among male and female users. Roblox users are reportedly 51% male, 44% female and 5% undisclosed. This shows an increase in female users since 2016, when only 35% of users were female.
Roblox was founded in 2004 by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel and released in 2006. The platform hosts user-created games that are coded in the programming language Lua. While Roblox is free to play, it offers in-game purchases through its own virtual currency named “Robux”.
Founded under the name Dynablocks, the platform changed its name to Roblox in 2005. Shortly after officially launching on September 1, 2006, Roblox released a premium membership, titled “Builders Club.”
Roblox released its first iOS version of Roblox on December 11, 2012 and its first Android version on July 16, 2014. The platform's Developer Exchange program, which allows developers to exchange Robux for real-world currencies, was released on October 1, 2013.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a large surge in Roblox gameplay and usage. The platform has more than doubled in daily active users since 2018, with an 85% increase during the 2020 pandemic.
Roblox went public via direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange on March 10, 2021. The company had a suggested price point of $45 per share under the ticker RBLX, and shot up 54.4% to $69.50 by closing. The IPO was the first direct listing in 2021, and the success of Roblox's stock price has been attributed to its large growth in 2020 and future goal of creating a mass metaverse.
The metaverse is part of Roblox's push to create an online world where users can meet, game, and congregate virtually. The game is already the biggest US mobile game as of 2020, and raised $924 in 2020 alone. Another factor in the company's stock is the average usage per user, with the average US user spending over one hundred minutes a day on the mobile app during the peak of quarantine.
The Roblox platform can be accessed on the following platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Devices, and Xbox One.The games are immersive 3D experiences and are powered by the users of the platform, who are compensated for their work. Users can make their own games with the company's desktop design tool, Roblox Studio.
Robux is Roblox's in-game currency, which allows users to purchase upgrades and avatar accessories. Four hundred Robux starts at $4.99 on the Roblox website; the highest value pack offering 10,000 for $99.99.
Robux are an integral part of Roblox, due to their importance in rewarding and paying in-game creators. Roblox allows developers to create their own games, accessories and add-ons to the platform. According to the company, more than 1,250 developers earned over $10,000 in 2020, with over 300 surpassing $100,000. Developers earn 70% of all game purchases on Roblox, and they also earn Robux through engagement-based payouts, content and tools sold between developers, and items sold through the Avatar Marketplace.
Roblox has operated virtual reality (VR) applications beginning in the mid 2010s, and launched Roblox VR for Oculus Rift in April 2016. The platform allows users to access games and virtual meeting places via VR headsets, with virtual reality growing as the platform works to create a large-scale metaverse for users.
Investing in Roblox - Andreessen Horowitz
David George and Marc Andreessen
February 26, 2020
Roblox Stock Continues To Climb As Market Value Tops $39 Billion
March 11, 2021
Roblox Usage and Growth Statistics: How Many People Play Roblox in 2021?
February 24, 2021
Welcome to the metaverse, the sci-fi dream behind Roblox's $38 billion valuation
March 11, 2021