Roblox, the popular programmable sandbox video game, have just announced their intentions to go public, seeking an initial valuation of 8 Billion dollars. After their most recent round of venture capital, Roblox is currently valued at half that, with a 4B$ valuation.
Interestingly according to Reuters Roblox may go public in a very non-conventional way.
Roblox is weighing whether to go public through a traditional initial public offering or a direct listing, the sources said, cautioning that the plans are subject to market conditions.
The sources requested anonymity as the plans are private. Roblox declined to comment.
In a direct listing, no new shares are sold and underwriting banks do not weigh in on the pricing, unlike in an IPO.
By not selling new shares, companies do not dilute the ownership stakes of existing shareholders and the public listing allows current investors to sell shares easily.
Direct listings are relatively rare. Workplace software maker Asana Inc and data analytics company Palantir Technologies on Wednesday became only the third and fourth companies to go public on the New York Stock Exchange through a direct listing.
So why is this of interest to game developers? Game developers are making a lot of money on the Roblox “platform”, with 2020 earnings expected to reach about 1/4 Billion dollars according to MarketWatch:
Roblox announced in July that it had more than 150 million monthly active users on its platform, which topped the latest numbers from a similar game, “Minecraft.” Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox division announced in May that 126 million people were playing that title each month.
Roblox also offers tools for developers and said in July that its developer community was on pace to earn $250 million in 2020, up from $110 million in 2019.
Games on the Roblox platform include “Adopt Me!,” a virtual-pet title that had over 10 billion plays as of late July, and “Piggy,” which launched in January and had nearly 5 billion visits in just over six months from its launch date.