Much like Epic Games has done with Fortnite, Roblox is vying to be one of the pioneers of the metaverse. In advance of the company’s direct public listing this month, which generated an immediate stock surge and values the company at more than $45 billion, Roblox held a special investor day to outline why it believes its strategy is changing the way entertainment is made and consumed.
Roblox CEO David Baszucki went so far as to say that his firm should be viewed as “shepherds of the metaverse.” Like Minecraft and other world-building titles, Roblox has strong appeal among children, but the company recognizes that to truly offer a metaverse, the virtual world must also cater to adults. According to Chief Business Officer Craig Donato, that shift is already taking place, as 44% of Roblox’s daily active users are now over 13-years-old. While the under 13 bracket remains a core strength for Roblox, Donato noted that the 16-24 age group saw faster growth in 2020.
Interpret’s New Media Measure® backs up the notion that Roblox is bringing in more adults to the ecosystem, especially Gen Z individuals. Roblox premium membership, which offers players monthly Robux to spend in the game along with other economy features, saw the most growth among the 18-24-year-old crowd, doubling from 3% of US gamers in 2019 to 6% in 2020. As more adults come into the picture, subscriptions allow for companies to generate recurring revenue. Epic launched a $12 monthly subscription for Fortnite late last year as well.
While Fortnite does not fit the world-building category, it has consistently hosted successful concerts and other events – something Roblox has been doing as well. Last year’s Lil Nas X concert, for example, garnered over 33 million attendees. The more adults that Roblox can attract, the more likely the platform will be able to hold a wider variety of entertainment events. That’s why Donato talked about the firm’s goal to produce more mature and immersive content.
“As more aged up content appears, it will attract older users. Those older users invite friends their own age on our platform and as more older users come to our platform it becomes even more attractive for developers to produce aged up content,” he explained. Ultimately, Roblox wants to create a platform that appeals “to all ages, from people that are six to 60.” If they achieve that goal, the sky’s the limit. As we’ve seen across entertainment, the most successful IP – Mario, Marvel, Star Wars, Pokemon, Pixar – are the ones that captivate everyone, regardless of age.