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   제목: First Day of Trading as Gaming Booms


Roblox Tops $45 Billion on First Day of Trading as Gaming Booms

The gaming site, valued at $4 billion a year ago, has benefited from the way children are passing their time in the pandemic.



Welcome to Bloxburg is one of many games in Roblox’s online universe, where players have avatars and can interact with one another.Credit...Roblox


By Kellen Browning
March 11, 2021



When the pandemic forced people indoors a year ago, many passed the time by playing games on their iPhones, building gaming computers and exploring the latest blockbuster titles on their Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

For video game companies, that has meant gushers of cash. A record $56.9 billion was spent on gaming last year in the United States, up 27 percent from 2019, according to the NPD Group. Sony, which released the PlayStation 5 in November, recently reported a 62 percent profit jump while Microsoft tallied $5 billion in quarterly gaming revenue for the first time, helped by sales of its new Xbox devices.

On Wednesday, the pandemic’s booming effect on gaming was even more starkly on display when Roblox, a gaming platform aimed at children, went public.

The Silicon Valley company closed its first day of trading at $69.50 a share, rising from a reference price of $45 that was set on Tuesday. That valued Roblox at $45 billion, up from $4 billion just over a year ago. The company went public in a direct listing in which no new shares were issued.



“The game industry’s swimming in cash,” said Joost van Dreunen, a New York University professor who studies the business of video games. “It’s just raining money on these people, on these companies.”

Roblox’s performance was another sign of an increasingly hot public offering market. When Airbnb and DoorDash went public last year, their share prices immediately soared, raising questions about whether there was a new stock market bubble. The investor demand for fast-growing young companies has been so off the charts that Roblox decided in December to delay its listing because it was too difficult to price its shares accurately.

That hype has been compounded for Roblox by the euphoria over video gaming in general. Apart from Microsoft’s and Sony’s new gaming consoles last year, mobile games like Among Us became internet phenomena essentially overnight. Video game makers such as Take-Two Interactive and Electronic Arts have tried to outbid one another to buy up smaller competitors. And hundreds of gaming start-ups have sprung up during the pandemic, said Evan Van Zelfden, the managing director for Games One, an advisory firm.

“It seems like there is a new start-up funded nearly every day,” he said. “Everybody wants to be the next Roblox.”

But how long that frenzy can last is increasingly under question. With vaccinations rolling out and pandemic restrictions easing in some places, gaming behavior may begin to change. Investors are not thinking about what will happen when the pandemic subsides, Mr. van Dreunen said.



“There’s going to be a lot less time to play Roblox,” he said.

David Baszucki, Roblox’s chief executive and a founder, said in an interview on Wednesday that he did not expect the platform to hemorrhage players when the pandemic ended and children returned to playing with friends outside.

“We don’t think we’re going to lose all of that, or all of the amazing people we’ve gathered,” he said. His shares in the company were valued at about $5.5 billion at the end of trading.

Excerpts articles from The New York Times
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