The Roblox Corporation, maker of the online game creation platform Roblox, went public yesterday, selling shares in the company on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time since it was founded back in 2004. It ended the day trading at just under $70, giving it a valuation of $45 billion, or approximately six Bethesda Softwares.
Roblox is like an MMO that looks part Minecraft, part Lego, where players can design their own games to play with one another, or choose from the overwhelming array of ones that have already been created. Sometimes the games are basic clones of platformers like Super Mario Bros. or battle royales like Fortnite. Occasionally they’re more unusual and abstract, operating like online art installations. In almost every instance they function like virtual hangouts for friends and strangers alike, making Roblox double as a social media platform with over 100 million users that very rich people now want to find a way to get even richer off of.
In 2018 investors thought Roblox was worth $2.5 billion. Last year they thought it was worth $4 billion. Yesterday, at $69.50 a share, they decided it was worth over $38 billion, for a total current valuation of $45 billion when restricted units and employee stock is taken into account, Bloomberg reports. As Eurogamer points out, that’s more than market caps for Electronic Arts ($37 billion), Take-Two ($19 billion), and Ubisoft ($8 billion). It’s also a lot more than the $7.5 billion Microsoft just paid to acquire The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Doom maker Bethesda. Activision Blizzard ($70 billion) is one of the few video game makers currently worth more, at least in the eyes of investors.
Roblox’s current valuation is also equivalent to:
- 90,000,000 PS5s, more than the lifetime sales of the PS3.
- 5,062,500,000 Bunnywolf Fortnite skins.
- 2,500,000 1st edition shadowless holographic Charizard Pokémon cards.
- 4,500 Riot Games gender discrimination lawsuit settlements.
- 112.5 Riot Games gender discrimination lawsuit settlements if the company paid as much as California regulators think it should.
- More than twice the $20 billion in the current covid-19 relief bill for vaccine manufacturing, and just shy of the $50 billion allotted for testing.
- Three times the annual cost of the national school lunch program.
Of course, public valuations are also incredibly fickle things, changing from one day to the next, sometimes in massive, completely meaningless swings. Case in point: GameStop. In January GameStop was suddenly worth roughly $20 billion more than it used to be. Then in February it wasn’t. Now in March it is again. Markets move in mysterious ways, just like the appeal of playing Roblox.