Indie game Roblox ought to stop calling itself ‘indie’ as the game is due to be publicly traded as soon as Wednesday.
The New York Stock Exchange valuated Roblox to be worth an eye-watering $29.5 billion Tuesday and recommended that individual shares open at $45 each. The game, which is most popular with young children on mobile devices, is free to play, but offers various micro-transactions. Roblox is not truly a game on its own; it’s a launching port where thousands of developers make their own games on the app, which can be played by the million-strong base of gamers.
“What used to be a hobby has become a job for an individual person, and now is more and more becoming the foundation for large, incredibly creative studios who are emerging on our platform,” Roblox CEO and founder David Baszucki told CNBC.
Baszucki cites that daily active users on Roblox jumped 85% in 2020 to 32.6 million. The massive increase is attributed, grimly, to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many children out of the classroom and away from friends. The largely-child player-base found sanctuary in Roblox, and hopeful investors have been told the company plans to up developer payouts and offer more funds for development.
Roblox explained as well that infrastructure, privacy and safety costs jumped almost 70% in 2020 to $264.2 million. “Because of the popularity of our platform, we believe that we are an attractive target for these sorts of attacks,” the company said in an investor prospectus.
Roblox will likely introduce in-game advertisements to further increase developer payouts. Currently, developers only receive payouts when players purchase virtual items. Some independent companies have found creative ways to advertise in Roblox. Sam Drozdov‘s company Bloxbiz connects advertisers to developers who then show ads on in-game billboards.
“Roblox wants them to make money, but a lot of them are still not at a point where it’s their livelihood,” Drozdov told CNBC. “We were interested in how we can accelerate that and create a new monetization option for Roblox game developers.”
Roblox, or now RBLX on the New York exchange, ended Wednesday at $69.50 per share and had a high point of $74.83. The price per stock is expected to remain steady throughout the week.