Games firm Roblox is firmly on the music industry map now, and since it’s a public company we get a quarterly insight into its growth and financials. Roblox published its Q1 results last night, revealing that it generated $387m of revenues in the first three months of this year, up 140% compared to Q1 2020.
However, Roblox isn’t making a profit: the company recorded an operating loss of $135.1m, and a net loss of $134.2m. The financials offer a useful snapshot of the costs of running ‘the YouTube for games’ too: $118.9m of ‘developer exchange fees’ – royalties paid out to developers of games on the platform – as well as $94.1m on infrastructure and safety; $96.6m on R&D and $20m on sales and marketing among other costs.
Growth? Roblox averaged 42.1 million daily active users in Q1 this year, up by 79% year-on-year. The company said that the number of daily active users aged older than 13 more than doubled (111% growth), bolstering its ‘not just for kids’ message to the financial markets.
That 79% growth in DAUs is partly a pandemic spike, comparing a Covid quarter (Q1 this year) with the last financial quarter (Q1 2020) before the lockdowns began in earnest. That’s shown by the separate figures Roblox published for April 2021, when its 43.3 million daily active users was up by 37% year-on-year.
Meanwhile, those people spent 3.2bn hours on Roblox in April, thus averaging nearly 74 hours a month each playing on the service. On average, each of those daily active users is currently spending between $5.59 and $5.66 a month on the Robux virtual currency according to Roblox’s ‘average bookings per DAU’ (ABPDAU, acronym fans!) metric.
(Note, bookings are not the same as revenue. In the online games world, money spent on virtual currency is not recorded as revenues until the players actually spend the currency. There’s a clear explanation of that in this VentureBeat story about social games firm Zynga’s financial results.)
Anyway, it’s an interesting look at an economy that music companies – Warner Music in particular, which has invested in Roblox and run several events with artists – want to get more involved with.