Roblox, a gaming platform last valued at $29.5 billion in the private sector, is going public Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange in another highly-anticipated debut for the booming online gaming space.
The stock was priced at $45, opened at $64.50, and was trading above $70 in the early going.
The company's proprietary game engine gives users the ability to create their own properties without learning to code. It then sells those user-made games on its popular app and shares 30 percent of the revenue from virtual purchases with creators.
Roblox paid $328.7 million to developers in 2020, up almost 200 percent from the year prior. Notably, more than half of the company's users are under the age of 13.
Craig Donato, chief business officer at the company, told Cheddar that the model thrives on the diversity of gaming experiences created by the global user base.
"You can think of Roblox as a universe made up of millions of immersive experiences that people can enjoy with their friends," he said. "So, you can be a star in a fashion show. You can DJ a beach party. You can snowboard down a mountain or build your own amusement park."
He added that eight million people around the world are contributing content to Roblox.
The way the model works is that Roblox sells players in-game currency called Robux, which players can then use to make in-game virtual purchases such as new skins for their avatars or other virtual features With the introduction of Premium Payouts in 2019, more than 1,250 developers earned at least $10,000 in Robux for their work. (The digital currency can be converted into cash.) The company anticipates more hefty payouts going forward.
After accounting for costs, Donato said the revenue-split with creators is closer to 50-50.
He noted that while the user base is still overwhelmingly young, older teenagers are its fastest-growing segment.
"Our players are very much growing up with us," he said.