The U.S. Roblox platform makes it easy for third parties to create video games for children and young teenagers. With sustained growth, the Californian start-up is nevertheless struggling to achieve profitability and to reassure the security of its platform.
Who is Roblox, the specialist in children's video games, who is preparing his IPO?
Roblox IPO Goes Live
Roblox wants to play in the big leagues of Wall Street. ACCORDING TO REUTERS, the U.S. company specializing in children's video games presented the IPO document on November 19. ACCORDING TO THE NEWS AGENCY, the IPO could raise the start-up's valuation to $8 billion, which aims to raise at least $1 billion. A COLLABORATIVE AND FREEMIUM
Model Created in 2004 by David Baszucki, Roblox has created a collaborative platform for creating video games.
Its unique feature is to provide the necessary toolkit via software to download to create games and play them online. Each user can access the catalog of games created by third parties. It's free-to-play and mostly multiplayer; content is available on Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Android, iOS, macOS, Fire OS, and Mac OS.
Its audience is mainly composed of children and young teenagers, both girls and boys, and plebiscite the use of mobile phones. Roblox claims 150 million monthly users (up 82% in one year), a quarter of nine years old, and half aged 9 to 12. The user creates an avatar, which serves as a character in all the games he plays. The personalization of this virtual double pays off.
Roblox also derives a portion of its revenue from its freemium model, with paid options in some games, which allow content creators to be compensated.
Another source of monetization is partnerships, as with Disney in 2019, around the last Star Wars episode.
It has been accessible to French and German users since 2019, and the European market already weighs almost a third in terms of the number of users.
The company says it wants to accelerate internationally, particularly in Asia and is currently in discussions with Tencent to enter the Chinese market.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been very favorable to Roblox, which has recorded a 90% jump in revenues to $589 million in one year since the beginning of 2020.
As an indication, the cumulative amount paid to the creators who support the platform amounts to $250 million in 2020, with significant disparities in the community. A thousand of them collected more than $10,000, 250 exceeded one million, and three lucky elected officials earned more than $10 million, Techcrunch reports. Significant losses Despite these good INDICATORS,
the company is failing to achieve profitability.
Since its inception, the company, which has raised $335 million, continues to widen its losses, amounting to $206 million since last January, compared to $46 million on a comparable period.
"We may never achieve profitability," notes Roblox, lucidly, in its IPO document.
The platform is also criticized for the relative quality of its content and the freedoms taken from copyright regulations. More serious: she has been repeatedly accused of exposing her young audience to offensive and sexual content.
In 2018, she and The Meet Group, Kik and Thorn, participated in the Artemis project, which resulted in a detection tool for instant messaging services developed by Microsoft to improve the protection of children online.