Roblox Looks to Expand Its Tween Empire to Middle-Aged Workers


Roblox Corp., which built its reputation on games for tweens, thinks it can win over middle-aged workers.

During the company’s first investor day Friday, Roblox said it wants to turn its gaming platform into a place where workers can meet up and collaborate -- potentially opening up a big new growth opportunity. For the past few months, the company has been holding its own all-hands meetings in Roblox. It also hosted its holiday party there, letting staff play games or hang out at a virtual bar.

“Our goal is to appeal to people who are six to 60,” Craig Donato, chief business officer, said during a presentation.

Roblox filed for an initial public offering in November, but later switched to plans for a direct listing, which is slated to take place around March 10. Chief Financial Officer Mike Guthrie said the San Mateo, California-based company will provide guidance next week.

Roblox hosts millions of games that are built by its users, who then get a share of any related revenue. Two thirds of all U.S. kids 9 to 12 years use the platform, according to the company. And in recent months, its average user age has been increasing.

Roblox may eventually let people shop through its platform, and offer highly-immersive advertising experiences, Chief Executive Officer Dave Baszucki said.

The idea of using virtual worlds for work isn’t especially novel. Plenty of immersive spaces, such as Linden Labs’ Second Life, have tried to attract workers to conferences and workshops.

The approach has a mixed record, but the Covid-19 pandemic has made virtual meetings more common and accepted. Roblox also has the benefit of a brand that’s well-known among kids and their parents. The platform was first released in 2006, and many users who embraced it as kids are now adults -- and still using it.

Roblox is taking other steps to appeal more to grown-ups. It’s working on a ratings system for its experiences, so some of them may be geared toward users who are 13 and older, Baszucki said. And it’s working on a more photo-realistic world, which will look similar to movies, he said. It’s also expanding the variety of avatars, with an eye toward luring older users, he said.

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