Roblox is big with kids, but the Roblox Corporation wants it to be much more. Will you be planning meetings and shopping through Roblox in the future? Those are some of the ideas the gaming mega-giant has as it attempts to broaden its appeal to an older audience.
Roblox is going public, with its long-delayed IPO scheduled for March 10. Going public, of course, means you have to appeal to investors, and that’s something Roblox attempted to do last week with its first-ever Investors Day presentation.
44% of Roblox’s daily users were over the age of 13 in 2020, while the 17-24 age group grew faster than the under-13 group in the past year. Pandemic boredom might account for some of that, but Roblox wants to go further and broaden its appeal to that older demographic. CEO Dave Baszucki talked about the shared social experiences of activities and concerts and used that as a springboard to discuss a number of different activities.
On the education front, Baszucki suggested people could “jump into a physics experiment” or “figure out what it’s like to be a bird and have to find food to survive.” He espoused the virtues of a virtual classroom, leading up to “ultimately, someday, we might even walk down that aisle to get our diplomas within an immersive, 3-D environment.”
Working together online has also been commonplace over the last year, and Baszucki wants to build on that new paradigm. Roblox has hosted its meetings and holiday parties online, and Baszucki believes that virtual environments, like the one Roblox offers, will be “essential tools for business communication.” He also talked about the money, discussing “high-quality, immersive brand advertising” and floating the idea that “ultimately, someday, we may even shop within Roblox.”
Chief Business Officer Craig Donato followed up by discussing the game’s monetization challenges, as well as how the company is “testing ways to have select brands participate in our economy and engage with users in ways that enhance user experience.” Some brands might even establish their own “branded worlds” on the platform, which Donato compared to brand pages on Facebook, but with “fully interactive experiences.”
On some level, their plans aren’t that far-fetched. There are concerts and branded promotions galore in Fortnite, and Roblox clearly wants a bigger piece of that entertainment pie. Additionally, people have been interacting much more online over the past year as well, both in social and professional contexts, so maybe that’s a trend Roblox can capitalize on and become a leader in business communication and online shopping.
Of course, there’s a very good reason why people have been spending more time online over the past 12 months, so the big question is whether Roblox can continue its impressive growth once the pandemic recedes. Roblox already has the “kid market” cornered, so if it’s going to grow in the future, it needs to expand its customer base and upper management feels like this is the best path forward.