3 min read

“The Metaverse is Dead” But Roblox Keeps Growing

Roblox Q1 2023 report is helping the metaverse continue to trend upward (as long as you consider Roblox a contribution to the metaverse):

  • Revenue (“bookings” as Roblox calls it) exceeded $774 million
  • Average daily active users (DAUs) reached 66 million, up 22% year over year.
  • Engagement hours totaled 14.5 billion, up 23% year over year.
  • Older users continue to contribute the most to growth, with those between the ages of 17-24 growing by 35% in Q1 2023 over Q1 2022.

Roblox continues to facilitate the sale of digital goods at a high rate. In just this past quarter, they’ve sold three-quarters of a billion dollars of digital currency tokens to 66 million active users.

And yet, tech pundits continue to publish essays on the death of the metaverse, centering their entire argument on Meta. But Meta isn’t the metaverse. They’re not the only company contributing to the Spatial Internet.

We have to get out of this absolute thinking about the metaverse. It’s not one destination with all things related to digital existence. On the road to the all-in-one metaverse showcased in Ready, Player One and Snow Crash, microcosms of the metaverse will develop and capture our interest. The metaverse will be fragmented before it becomes unified. It’s just a matter of creating easy portals between these spatial destinations.

What’s important is that Roblox has normalized digital goods among the youngest generation, just as Fortnite did for the generation prior. (Fortnite did $5.8B in revenue in 2021, largely on digital goods.)

Yes, purchasing in-game artifacts and digital experience enhancements have existed for decades in video games before we labeled them as part of the metaverse. But Roblox is also inherently a social experience. That makes it more than a video game.

Roblox is the mecca of user-generated content (UGC). Those 66 million users log their hours in the app daily because other users are creating new games to experience on the platform. That makes it more than a video game.

Look at Roblox’s top games, and you’ll quickly recognize the variety of reasons people tune into this platform:

  1. Adopt Me! is an adoption game where users take care of baby animals (32 billion visits)
  2. Brookhaven is like Grand Theft Auto where users can lead a virtual life of crime (30 billion visits)
  3. Tower of Hell is a parkour game where users have 8 minutes to complete treacherous obstacles and reach the top of the tower (20 billion visits)
  4. Blox Fruits is inspired by the manga One Piece and revolves around quests, adventures, and battles to earn digital fruits that contain special powers (16 billion visits)
  5. MeepCity is an RPG revolving around customization and imagination. You play games to earn coins, which can be spent on items, outfitting your home, and even running virtual businesses (15 billion visits)

This list should help further the case that Roblox is more than a video game.

Although Roblox facilitates one-directional transactions of digital goods today, this could change. They’ve already experimented with Limiteds, which are their version of NFTs that are sold in limited quantities for a limited time. They could take the leap (and it would be a massive leap) and turn everything into a blockchain integration.

Roblox is doing a lot to grow up with its users. They’ve built a phenomenal game that doesn’t revolve around tokens and tokenomics. They’ve created demand for digital goods and proven that they can sell said goods. The liquidity is there if they ever want to unlock the crypto component. Although I don’t see that happening any time soon, the important part is that they have the option.

Roblox has molded human behavior and cemented the habit in millions. They’ve created an immersive, social product that 66 million people use and purchase digital goods in daily. While I consider Roblox as a massive part of the metaverse, it’s clear that the lack of blockchain and VR is holding others back. I think all of this will come in due time.

Nonetheless, the fact that we have so many people passionately debating whether Roblox is a video game or a metaverse is beautiful. They’re blurring the lines and continuing to surprise us with how strong of a part of people’s lives they’ve become.