My 6-year-old daughter spends hours each week on the iPad in Roblox, a game featuring blocky Lego-like characters in virtual worlds. Since real-life playdates are rare in Covid times, I excuse this by telling myself it’s a way for her to connect with her cousin, who lives hundreds of miles away.
Over the holidays I made a big mistake: I inadvertently unblocked in-app purchases. And so, like an identity thief with a no-limit AmEx platinum card, they went on a wild spending spree. She dropped over $300. Her shopping list included:
- 2 “legendary” supercars
- a mermaid mansion
- a heart-shaped hoverboard
- a variety of flyable and rideable “ultra-rare” pets, including a sloth and a panda
Aside from the face-palm aspect of this, it did hit home that for her generation, aspiring to own virtual goods is as normal as it was for me to daydream about the next Nintendo cartridge I’d buy.
Roblox announced this week it would follow in the footsteps of Palantir and Spotify and pursue a direct listing instead of a conventional IPO. Why? Well, for one, so many kids are buying virtual goods it really doesn’t need the public markets to raise capital. In fact, Roblox also announced this week it had raised $520M at a crazy valuation of $29.5B.
Who would have thought it possible? An empire built on the backs of flyable pandas that cost 249 “Robux.” (Of course, Robux are bought with IRL money.)
Our research in the consumer space has been closely tracking virtual goods, in fashion, luxury, and even influencer marketing. Dig into that research for more on why it's a trend that will impact many B2C categories beyond gaming.