Roblox Founder and CEO David Baszucki said that he wants people to see the company as more than a gaming site, and one that can provide live events like entertainment and educational programming. “When we experience concerts together, we dance together, we chat with our friends, we dress up,” he said in an investor presentation, per CNBC. “Concerts aren’t just something we consume. They really are naturally something we do together.”
Roblox hosted the rapper Lis Nas X for a virtual show that attracted more than 30 million visitors on two nights in November 2020. The Silicon Valley firm has become one of the top-grossing iOS and Android apps. It features millions of user-created games that let youth interact with their friends while playing.
The pandemic helped fuel a revenue surge for Roblox in 2020, when it escalated 82 percent to $923.9 million. Users spent more than double the number of hours on the platform in 2020 compared to the prior year, logging 30.6 billion hours. As the company looks to the future, it aims to target older users and non-gamers. “We’re increasingly appealing to an older user base,” said Roblox CFO Mike Guthrie, per CNBC, noting that people over the age of 13 now comprise 44 percent of all active users.
Baszucki said that beyond entertainment and events, he thinks schools could make use of Roblox for unique, captivating lessons instead of having everyone listening on a crowded video call.
Roblox had been exploring an initial public offering (IPO) last year, but scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had it look toward a direct listing instead. The company raised $520 million in January in a funding round led by Altimeter Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group. The company’s valuation after the round reached $29.5 billion, up from $4 billion in January 2020.