Cheat Sheet: Why Roblox is fast becoming one of the most important media businesses of the future
By Seb Joseph
Roblox crushed its first quarter as a public company earlier this week, proving it’s more of a game-creation platform than a game per se. In fact, Robox has become a bellwether for a user-generated gaming medium well on its way to being a cornerstone of a wider creator economy.
“The types of experiences in the metaverse are going to be supported by engagement, they’re going to be supported by transactions and they’re going to be supported by advertising,” said Dave Baszucki, CEO of Roblox, who describes the future of the company as a metaverse. “When we look at some of the types of experiences that we can imagine on the platform, there will be some experiences that are more and more subscription-supported, just like many of our experiences are freemium right now. So there is a range of functionality that we will be rolling out over the next few years to support those types of experiences.”
Naturally, some advertisers are already circling Roblox. That said, the gaming platform is still an unknown entity to much of the industry. It seemed like a good moment, then, to look through its latest numbers and get a better sense of why it’s often regarded as one of the biggest things happening in media and tech today.
The key numbers
- Roblox’s bookings — the amount of virtual currency purchased by users — rose 161% to $652.3 million in the quarter with average bookers per daily active user up 46% to $15.48.
- Gamers spent 9.7 billion hours on the platform in the first three months of the year. For context: Twitch reported a record 6.3 billion hours watched over the same period.
- Growth in engagement came down to two things: first, an 87% increase in daily active users (DAUs) outside the U.S. and Canada: second, a 111% jump in DAUs over the age of 13 years old — proof that Roblox isn’t just a kids platform.
- Developer exchange fees — the money that’s paid out to creators on Roblox — came in at $118.9 million in the quarter, up 167% in the same period last year. Interestingly Roblox said it would pay out nearly $500 million to developers this year. In 2018, that figure was just $72 million. It’s easy to see why the platform has become a key part of the creator economy. Making Roblox games is a cash spinner.
- Roblox made $923 million in revenue in 2020, which is an 82% increase compared to 2019 figures.
Isn’t this just down to the fact that kids are spending more time at home during the pandemic?
Of course, Roblox is undoubtedly one of the biggest entertainment success stories of the pandemic. But its growth shows no sign of slowing. Its bookings for April are forecasted to be up by around 60% compared to the same period last year. So even as vaccinations ramp up on both sides of the Atlantic and kids return to other activities, Roblox continues to post strong numbers. Last month’s jump in bookings is a testament …read more