- Roblox, a massively popular video game with 70 million monthly active players, has raised $US150 million at a valuation of over $US2.5 billion.
- Incidentally, $US2.5 billion is also how much Microsoft paid for Mojang, the creator of Minecraft – which is seen as one of Roblox’s chief rivals.
- Roblox CEO David Baszucki says that the money will go into helping develop Roblox into what he calls a new form of “human co-experience.”
Roblox, a massively popular video game with 70 million monthly active players, has raised a whopping $US150 million in a funding round led by Greylock Partners and Tiger Global Management.
While Roblox didn’t disclose terms of the deal, we’re told by a person familiar with the situation that the company is now valued at over $US2.5 billion. All told, Roblox has raised $US185 million in funding.
Roblox CEO David Baszucki tells Business Insider that while the company is “solidly profitable,” the company needs the money to invest in some big capital expenditures, including technological infrastructure and further international expansion. The ultimate goal is to take Roblox past its origins as a game and into a whole new form of entertainment.
“Gaming is a part of it, but we see this as much bigger than that,” says Baszucki.
Roblox is often compared to Minecraft, the international phenomenon that Microsoft purchased in 2014. This fundraising is only likely to accelerate those comparisons: $US2.5 billion is both Roblox’s new valuation, and the amount that Microsoft paid for Mojang, the studio behind Minecraft.
But those similarities are really only skin deep. In reality, Roblox is more of a marketplace than a game – unlike its rivals, Roblox is almost entirely created by its users. All 40 million Roblox games, including popular ones like “Meep City” and “Jailbreak,” were made by its base of mostly younger independent developers. If a player chooses to spend the premium virtual Robux currency – which costs real money – in a game, the developer gets a cut.
And business appears to be booming. Roblox is on track to pay out $US70 million to developers this year, with several making their livings from the game, and a few even becoming millionaires in their own right. Some, like Alex “Alexnewtron” Binello, have even formed companies and started hiring employees to build out their Roblox gaming empires.
Meanwhile, Roblox itself is cash flow positive as of earlier this year, and it recently hired a CFO with an eye toward a possible IPO, though the company said it had no news to share on that front.
When it comes to those grand ambitions, Baszucki says that he doesn’t pay much mind to other games on the market. To his mind, it’s “less of a competitive landscape, and more of a vision and execution landscape.”
To be more specific, Baszucki envisions Roblox as a new platform for “human co-experience.” Some people are using Roblox to play soccer, or shooting games, or racing games. Others, though, are using it for roleplaying, education, and other “experiences” that can teach positive life skills to Roblox’s largely younger users.
This is the real potential for Roblox, says Baszucki. Roblox is already where kids go to hang out with their friends online – and he wants to expand it even further into a full-fledged virtual universe, where kids go not just to game, but to build, create, and generally interact, the same as they would in the real world, only accelerated by technology.
“[Kids] tend to see their reality as both digital and the real world, and move pretty freely between them,” says Baszucki. “They’re making their own rules.”
Recode reported that Roblox was raising a round valued at about $US2.5 billion back in June.
For more on Roblox:
- This video game is turning teenagers into millionaires – and it’s on track to pay out $US70 million more this year
- The video game that’s turning teens into millionaires has hired a CFO as it considers an IPO
- A video game turned this self-taught 23-year-old programmer into a budding mogul who can support his mum and brother