Roblox CEO says metaverse is still huge opportunity

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    Roblox, an online platform that blends gaming, social media, and remote user-generated content creation, was one of the big winners early in the coronavirus pandemic as millions of people sought to bond virtually. I did.

    Revenue doubled in 2020, and millions of people flocked to its platform to create games in virtual worlds. The company is now trying to acquire more users, with 1 billion daily users, a multiple of its current 70 million, and a return to profitability after years of heavy losses.

    As we chart that path, we’ve begun working closely with brands like Nike and Ralph Lauren, with the goal of eventually offering direct shopping on the Metaverse platform. Children 13 and under have long made up Roblox’s core audience and still make up about 43% of the user base. But with the 17- to 24-year-old age group currently growing the fastest, efforts such as collaborations with retail brands will become increasingly important to draw in older enthusiasts, Roblox said. CEO and co-founder David Baszucki said. luck.

    Founded in 2004, Roblox is still seeing daily user growth, albeit at a slower pace post-pandemic. However, costs are increasing faster than revenues. In 2022, Roblox posted a huge net loss of $934 million on revenue of about $2 billion, but the trend remained in the red due to heavy investments in R&D, including AI, and strengthening user safety infrastructure. continued this year as well.

    Although Roblox Stock prices have increased recently The company’s stock price remains about 40% below its 2021 IPO level after the company’s latest financial results suggested progress on cost control and user growth. Behind this is pressure to grow beyond the basic demographic of young people, and concerns that interest in the Metaverse has slowed compared to past hype. . Bazucchi is The Metaverse has reached its peak and states that what is more important than the prevalence of the term is what people are innately programmed to do: the ability to develop bonds. “The mission was to unite a billion people every day with optimism and civility. And whether there’s excitement about that particular term or not, that’s consistent,” Baszucki said. Masu. Now he must find a way to make a profit based on basic human tendencies.

    This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    You frequently state that you want “civility” from Roblox’s online services. Is that a realistic goal?

    Less than a month after launching Roblox, when there were only four of us in the office, we saw a vision that civility could be a great part of our mission. With our four co-founders as moderators, we built a civility and safety moderation system within a month of going live. One of my predictions at the Roblox developer conference in September is that we will publish a generalized score of civility for users on the platform and see it go up and down as people come to Roblox. It was said that it could be done. (The company did not provide a timeline for rolling out the metric.)

    Roblox usage has skyrocketed during the pandemic. As people return to more in-person interactions, what has happened to Roblox?

    Roblox provided a way for people to come together when they couldn’t. Many people use it as a place to hang out and communicate. We have grown all of our metrics relative to their peaks, showing that the foundation of our social communications platform has the capacity to grow post-pandemic.

    So how do you reach 1 billion users every day, which is 1/7th of humanity?

    One way is to expand the age range of the platform. The second is to get from the current situation around the world to the current situation in the United States. Japan is growing 100% year over year and Brazil is growing about 30% to 40%. The third vector is that more people are using Roblox more often for spontaneous connections in addition to 30-minute to hour-long type gameplay. My other big prediction for him is that within the next five years, musicians will be spontaneously performing live in front of over 1 million people on his Roblox. .

    Let’s talk about Roblox’s potential in the Metaverse. Partnerships with brands such as Ralph Lauren. Will we start seeing more of this type of marketing?

    Traditionally, we have seen advertisements for brands in newspapers. More recently, we’ve seen the rise of banner and video ads, as well as native and immersive ads. Now, like Vans, there’s a level of immersion where you can put merch and skateboards together and see what’s on sale.

    So how far can retail partnerships go?

    Just as we shop on websites or shop in physical malls, there is an opportunity for you or me to shop in a third virtual location.

    What type of brand is best suited for this?

    Early innovations were seen in brands like Gucci, which sold products through Roblox for $3,000. But we should expect a wide range. I don’t exclude cars, I don’t exclude household appliances, I don’t exclude movies, and of course I don’t exclude fashion and beauty.

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