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Roblox, the platform for Lego-like user-generated games, reported its bookings for the fourth quarter that ended on December 31 were $770.1 million, up 20% from the same period a year ago.

The San Mateo company reported a net loss of $143.2 million on revenues of $568.8 million for the fourth quarter, compared to a loss of $67.2 million on revenues of $310.0 million a year earlier.

Roblox has done well among its target audience of children and teens during the pandemic, as players turned to it for remote, socially distanced play with their friends at a time when they couldn’t meet in-person.

Roblox previously raised $520 million at a $29.5 billion valuation in a financing round ahead of its direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange as a public company. It opened on March 10, 2021 at a valuation of $41.9 billion a share. It also raised up to $1 billion through debt known as secured notes.

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In after-hours trading, Roblox’s stock is down 13.3% a share.

“With nearly 55 million daily active users, Roblox is increasingly an integral part of people’s lives,” said David Baszucki, CEO of Roblox, in a statement. “As we look ahead to 2022, we will continue to develop our technology to enable deeper forms of communication, immersion and expression on our platform.”

Q4 results

Dave Baszucki (left) and Dan Sturman of Roblox.
Dave Baszucki (left) and Dan Sturman of Roblox.

Analysts expected a loss of 13 cents a share on bookings of $772 million for the further quarter. Most video game companies emphasize non-GAAP bookings, or the total value of virtual currency purchases by players during the quarter, instead of revenues, which under accounting rules are limited to those purchases that are expected to be fully resolved within a certain time period. For instance, a player may buy Robux currency in the first quarter, but spend it over 10 months. That revenue has to be recognized over time, as it is spent inside the platform’s games.

Roblox’s quarterly revenue came in at $568.8 million, up 83% from a year earlier. The GAAP net loss for the quarter was $143.2 million, or 25 cents a share. Net cash from operations was $122.2 million.

Roblox’s goal is to build the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.

Roblox gets a 30% cut from the bookings generated by sales of Robux, the virtual currency used by players to play user-generated games, the company’s bookings for 2020 were $1.9 billion, double what they were the year before. Roblox’s games have become so popular that people have played the best ones billions of times.

In the fourth quarter, average daily active users (DAU) were 49.5 million, up 33% from a year earlier and up from 47.3 million in the third quarter. Hours engaged were 10.8 billion, up 28% from a year ago, and average bookings per DAU were $15.57.

For the year 2021, on average, Roblox said that daily active users were 45.5 million, up 40% from 32.6 million a year earlier. In the year ended December 31, 2021, hours engaged were 41.4 billion, up 35% compared with 30.6 billion hours engaged a year earlier.

“The foundation we put in place that allows us to invest in our business while continuing to generate strong cash flow is one of the most unique aspects of our business,” said Michael Guthrie, chief financial officer of Roblox, in a statement. “Our 2021 results demonstrate that the investments we were able to make in our technology and developer community are generating strong returns, and we will continue leaning into the business as we focus on the large, long-term growth opportunity ahead of us.”

January results

The Roblox EDC front view.
The Roblox EDC front view.

Rather than make forecasts about how its upcoming quarter is expected to go, Roblox is not making a forecast. Rather, it is disclosing the actual results for the month of January, which is part of the first quarter.

In the month of January, revenue was $203 million to $206 million, up 64% to 66% from a year earlier. DAUs were 54.7 million, up 32% from January 2021. Hours engaged were 4.2 billion, up 26% from a year earlier. Bookings were $220 million to $223 million, up 2% to 3% from a year earlier. ABPDAU was $4.02 to $4.08, down 22% to 23% from a year earlier.

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