Dec 16, 2021 6 min read

Roblox: Defining 3D Gaming in the Metaverse

Wiser! Essay: Roblox are defining the creator class for the Metaverse Economy. Kids as young as 9 are building and trading in virtual games as the virtual and physical worlds collapse into a single user experience.


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What you need to know about Roblox

Back Story:  Roblox is the platform for Lego-like user-generated games. In the creator economy for the Metaverse, it's the kids who are creating. And they're doing it on Roblox.

If you're unfamiliar with Roblox, they are huge in the kids gaming world. The name Roblox is a play on Robots and Blocks, because of its "building blocks" architecture. Roblox has over 47 million daily active users, with the highest number of users that have been active on Roblox at the same time recorded at 5.7 million.

Over 8 million small and big-time game developers are using Roblox as a means of promoting new games. Due to this, Roblox has been home to over 40 million different games, at least since 2008. Roblox developers have amassed combined earnings of $328 million.

The platform has been played and downloaded in over 180 countries. A third of the daily active users are in North America followed closely by Europe. In the last quarter of 2020, Roblox registered over 9.73 billion hours of playtime on the platform, making it one of the most engaged platforms in the world.

The most significant of these impressive stats is the average age of its user base:

Over half of Roblox users are 13 years and younger.

This young (and growing) user base has developed a new "creator class" for the Metaverse economy. This new generation of school age, digital creators are creating interactive 3D content in Roblox. They're also creating game content on Fortnite, digital artwork as NFTs on multiple platforms such as OpenSea, and in decentralized worlds in the virtual utopias that are Decentraland or Sandbox.

Talking point:  The point here is that we are seeing the origins of a new economy: the Metaverse Economy. Analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence estimate the Metaverse economy could be worth $800 billion within the next 2-3 years.

In this virtual world, which is now called the Metaverse, are real creators that are earning real money and building real value. This is where Roblox stands apart from many of the other emerging platforms in the Metaverse Economy. Roblox is far more generous in handing out fees to the child creators when compared to, say, the fairly measly sums on NFT marketplaces.

Here's how it works. Roblox gets a 30% cut from the bookings generated by sales of Robux, the virtual currency used by players to play user-generated games. In 2020, the company booked revenues of $1.9 billion (double what they were in 2019). Roblox’s games have become so popular that people have played the best ones billions of times. On average, 47 million people come to Roblox every day. More than 1.25 million creators have made money in Roblox. In the year ended December 31, 2020, users spent 30.6 billion hours engaged on the platform, an average of 2.6 hours per daily active user each day.

CEO and founder, David Baszucki

David Baszucki is the founder and CEO of Roblox, the gaming platform that went public in March with a $40 billion market valuation.

Here's a short video of Baszucki talking about Roblox and its role in the Metaverse.

Roblox in the Metaverse

Roblox  (along with Fortnite) is a leading architect when it comes to the Metaverse, however that turns out.

Their young demographic is likely to stay with Roblox as it transitions into a platform for an older audience. Roblox has already ventured into the Social Commerce space and partnered with brands for online shopping using their own cryptocurrency called Robux. These brands include Gucci Garden for buying virtual clothing and accessories (essential for dressing your avatars) and Vans, who built a virtual skate park that allows users to customise their own sneakers.

The point is... 

The Metaverse is about the physical and virtual worlds coming together into a single experience. As Baszucki said recently,

"the physics of the Milky Way will converge with the physics of Roblox. If you drop a mug in a virtual Roblox kitchen, the sound and splatter will be the same as if you'd shattered the mug in your own home."

If you want to get a taste of what's coming, go find a family member under the age of 16 and they'll show you, probably on Roblox.

Further Reading

Web3 versus the Metaverse; different journeys to the same destination (Part 1)
Wiser! #49 (Premium): Web3 is everything crypto and the economy that is forming around it; DeFi, DAOs, Dapps, Decentralised, NFTS. It’s on the same course as the Metaverse, just taking a different route. In this 2 Part series, I make sense of what’s happening and what’s next for the Internet.
The Metaverse Part 1; Facebook’s big bet
Wiser! #43 (Premium): When Facebook, the world’s largest social network, renames to “Meta”, it positions the Metaverse as the Next Computing Platform, aka Web3, the next generation of the Internet.
The Metaverse Part 2; what it virtually means in reality
Wiser! #45 (Premium): All of a sudden, everyone is talking about the Metaverse. Thanks Meta! In this 2 part series, Part 1 explained what it is and Part 2 looks at what it does.

Related Sources of Insight and Information

Daily active users (DAU) of Roblox games worldwide from 4th quarter 2018 to 3rd quarter 2021

Roblox's 10 biggest games of all time (each with more than a billion plays). Source: VentureBeat

Roblox Statistics 2021. Source: EarthWeb

Roblox jumps to over 150m monthly users and will payout $250m to developers in 2020. Source: TechCrunch

Roblox kid developers make enough Robux to pay for college. Source: VentureBeat

Roblox IPO. Source: Washington Post

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