Roblox earnings beat expectations on revenue, as user growth jumps 79%

·Technology Editor
·4 min read

Online gaming company Roblox (RBLX) released its Q1 earnings for the first time as a public company on Monday, beating analysts' expectations on revenue but missing on the bottom line. 

Here were the results compared to analysts' expectations:

  • Bookings: $652.3 million versus $575.8 million expected

  • Losses per share: $0.46 versus $0.21 expected

The company's stock was up more than 4% following the report's release.

Roblox went public via a direct listing in March, allowing current investors to sell shares. Shares began trading at $64.50 each, and the company was trading just above that at $65.42 ahead of earnings on Monday.

The company saw a huge jump in user engagement in Q1, with users putting a collective 9.7 billion hours into the game. In Q1, the company reported that it had 42.1 million daily active users, up 79% year over year thanks in part to a 111% growth in daily active users over the age of 13.

“Our first quarter 2021 results enabled us to continue investing aggressively in the key areas that we believe will drive long term growth and value, specifically hiring talented engineering and product professionals and growing the earnings for our developer community,” Roblox CFO Michael Guthrie said in a statement following the release of the earnings report.

“We believe we must continue to innovate and so remain focused on building great technology to make progress on our key growth vectors, primarily international expansion and expanding the age demographic of our users.”

BURLINGAME, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 10: David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox, presents at the Roblox Developer Conference on August 10, 2019 in Burlingame, California. (Photo by Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for Roblox)
BURLINGAME, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 10: David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox, presents at the Roblox Developer Conference on August 10, 2019 in Burlingame, California. (Photo by Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for Roblox)

Roblox is a unique kind of video game company. Unlike gaming giants Activision Blizzard (ATVI), EA (EA), or TTWO (TTWO) which spend millions to develop and publish games, Roblox relies on an army of 7 million user-creators to build out the titles using Roblox's own custom design elements.

“[Roblox] combines the communication utility of social networks (TikTok, SNAP) with the monetization/engagement of AAA gaming (Fortnite, Call of Duty, GTA Online), and has democratized content creation such that any user is a creator (Unity, YouTube, Twitch)," BofA analyst Ryan Gee wrote in an April research report.

"[Roblox] is not a 'game' and stands apart from gaming peers with economics of online marketplaces (DASH, ABNB, ETSY). This unique blend of models offers mobile exposure with less-relative capital risk than what we associate with traditional content creators," Gee wrote.

According to its S1, Roblox had as many 31.1 million daily active users as of September 2020. That was up from 17.6 million daily active users throughout all of 2019 and 12 million daily active users in 2018.

Roblox works by letting gamers create their own custom avatars they can then drop into games created by their fellow players. Those games include racing titles, shooters, and even games that allow you to explore historical events and places like the sinking of the Titanic.

Users who build content for the platform make money off of sales of their creations to other players. Players buy in-game items, character outfits, etc., using Robux, a digital currency equal to $0.0035. Developers, meanwhile, collect a 70% cut of the Robux that players spend in their games.

Roblox says some 1,050 developers have earned at least $10,000, while another 250 made $100,000 or more through September 2020.

The company's S-1 filing showed a robust top-line growth but ballooning losses. Revenue jumped almost 82% year-over-year to $923.9 million in 2020. However, net loss attributed to common stockholders jumped to $253.3 million for the year ending December 31, 2020, compared to $71.1 million in 2019.

The company's free cash flow was still impressive, rising to $411.2 million in 2020, from $14.9 million in 2019.

-Additional reporting by Ines Ferre

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