October 2, 2020 | technology | No Comments
User-generated game platform Roblox has seen its users go through the roof in recent years, and the company is reportedly planning to go public early next year at a valuation that could hit $8 billion, according to a report in CNBC.
CNBC said Roblox is working with investment banks to prepare for going public on the U.S. stock market. The company most recently raised $150 million in venture funding from Andreessen Horowitz in a deal announced in February.
Roblox declined to comment on the CNBC report. But one source we contacted confirmed they believe the report is accurate.
The deal wouldn’t be surprising, as other game companies have turned to public markets in recent weeks. The game industry is one of the few sectors that is doing well in the pandemic. Game engine maker Unity raised $1.3 billion at a $13.6 billion valuation in an IPO on September 18, even though it is losing money. Unity’s shares are up more than 60% since trading began.
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Skillz, which turns games into skill-based cash reward competitions, is planning to go public at a $3.5 billion valuation through a special public acquisition company (SPAC).
Roblox is reportedly weighing whether to go through a traditional IPO or a direct listing, CNBC said. In a direct listing, no new shares are sold, and underwriting banks do not weigh in on the pricing, unlike in an IPO. A lot of this depends on the health of the stock market, which has been volatile this year.
CEO Dave Baszucki founded Roblox in 2004, enabling anyone to make Lego-like characters and build rudimentary games for kids. The company has continuously beefed up that capability, and it has grown to more than 115 million monthly active users who play 1.5 billion hours of games per month. Roblox shares revenues with its game creators, enabling high school students and young adults to become millionaires if they have hit games.
Baszucki is a big fan of the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. At our GamesBeat Summit event in April, Roblox’s Matt Curtis talked about the tools the company is building in order to make its version of the metaverse happen.
It’s the same goal that Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, is reportedly chasing after as well, as are numerous other companies. But Roblox is doing just fine as a platform for user-generated content. Many of its top-10 games are getting billions of plays.