In a boost for the ‘metaverse,’ Roblox shares jump 25% after strong Q4 gains Story-level
It seems that the metaverse is working fine. No, not the one Meta is trying to bring to life in VR: Apparently, the Roblox gaming platform is where kids still spend their money. After reporting its fourth-quarter results on Wednesday, Roblox shares jumped 25%, as investors reacted to the company’s better-than-expected earnings.
Popularized through games like MeepCity, Jailbreak, Adopt Me!, Royale High, Murder Mystery, and others, Roblox appeals to a younger demographic who go online not only to play games, but also to chat and socialize with other gamers.
The growth of the platform, along with other games like Fortnite, where players also attend concerts and hang out with friends, worried Facebook so much that it changed its name to Meta and began spending billions on its metaverse project, for fear of missing out on the next trend in online socializing.
But for now, Roblox is still where the action is for today’s young gamers, or “metaverse” participants, if you want to call them that. (Technically, the metaverse does not exist yet It’s just a buzzword.)
The gaming platform company reported today that it had 58.8 million average daily active users (DAUs), up 19% year-over-year, as of the fourth quarter. For the full year 2022, average DAUs were 56 million, up 23% from the prior year. In addition, the company provided more recent metrics, noting that the average DAU for January had risen to 65 million, or 19% more year-over-year.
However, Wall Street investors were particularly happy with Roblox’s reserve figures, which represent in-game purchases made with the company’s own Robux virtual currency. In the fourth quarter, bookings grew 17% year-over-year to $899.4 million (or up 21% at constant exchange rates), when investors had been anticipating $884.71 million, according to a consensus estimate. For the full year, reserves increased 5% to $2.9bn (or 9% at constant exchange rates).
in today’s earnings releasethe company also estimated that its January bookings were in the range of $267 million to $271 million, up 19% year-over-year.
“Bookings accelerated significantly in December and January, with over 20% year-over-year growth in both months. Growth was strong across all geographies and age groups, with particular strength among users 17 and older,” Roblox CFO Michael Guthrie said in the earnings press release, an indication that Roblox is growing your user base with teens and young adults, not just kids. . That’s good news for the company, if it is, as the demographic would have more money to spend on Robux.
At their developer conference last fall, Roblox had noticed that half of its user base was 13 or older, suggesting that it was successfully retaining at least some of the users many expected to age out of the Roblox experience.
Additionally, Roblox reported today that its players were engaged with gaming on the platform for longer periods, both in Q4 and in 2022 overall. Committed hours grew 18% year-over-year in the fourth quarter to 12.8 billion, and increased 19% year-over-year to 49.3 billion last year.
Although investors are more concerned about bookings, Roblox revenue was also up 2% year-over-year to $579.0 million in the fourth quarter, and 16% year-over-year to $2.2bn in 2022.
Also helping lift the stock was the fact that Roblox reported a smaller loss of 48 cents per share, compared with the 52 cents per share anticipated by investors.
There has been some anticipation as to where Roblox would land in the post-Covid era.
The company saw incredible growth during the Covid-19 pandemic when schools were closed and children locked up at home, but their earnings took a hit last year as pandemic trends normalized. A year ago, in his first full annual report after going public, Roblox CEO David Baszucki admitted to investors that while the company’s absolute numbers were still growing, its growth rates had slowed because was forced to compare its figures with the double or even triple growth observed during the pandemic.
The company has also weathered a few storms, including those related to moderation affairs inappropriate contentand concerns about exploiting young developers building games for their platform. The latter plays into the larger issues that arise in technology around the app and gaming markets, and what kind of revenue share, if any, should apply. Apple and Google’s app stores are in the spotlight for now, but ultimately the regulations could affect any platform where game creators have to pay commissions.
Although not a factor in this earnings period, Roblox hosted a free virtual Super Bowl concert with Saweetie and announced that the NFL had created a new experience on its platform that allowed football fans to select their own NFL team and build a stadium. Recently, the reports said Roblox can more directly compete with Meta’s Horizon Worlds by launching on Meta’s own Quest platform.