Only a handful of tech companies have ever become $1 trillion companies. Apple and Amazon crossed that milestone in 2018, Microsoft followed suit in 2019, and Facebook joined the club earlier this year.
Many other tech stocks could join that elite group within the next decade — and investors who hop on board today could reap massive multibagger gains. Could one of those stocks be Roblox, the gaming company which gained millions of new users during the pandemic?
How much is Roblox worth today?
Roblox went public via a direct listing this March with a reference price of $45. The stock opened at $64.50, and currently trades in the high $80s — which gives it a market capitalization of nearly $50 billion. For Roblox to become a $1 trillion company by 2030, the stock would need to rise about 20 times.
No pure-play video game company has crossed the $1 trillion mark yet. Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts, two of the world’s largest video game publishers, are currently worth about $70 billion and $40 billion, respectively. Unity, which indirectly competes against Roblox in the game engine and development space, is worth roughly $30 billion.
If we compare these four companies’ price-to-sales ratios, we’ll notice the market is paying a much higher premium for game creation engines like Roblox and Unity than traditional video game publishers.
But is Roblox a fad or a new content platform?
However, there are some key differences between Roblox and Unity.
Roblox is a platform that enables younger users, many of whom don’t have any coding experience, to build simple block-based games and share them with other players. Unity is an advanced game development engine that powers over half of the world’s mobile, PC, and console games.
Roblox encourages users to monetize their games with an in-app currency called Robux within its walled garden. Unity offers developers more flexible tools for integrating in-app ads, in-app purchases, and other features into their games.
The bulls claim Roblox’s self-sustaining cycle of content creation, self-promotion, and monetization will fuel its long-term growth. The bears will point out that half of the platform’s daily active users (DAUs) are under the age of 13, and they might eventually grow out of Roblox’s simple experiences or graduate to a more advanced game development engine like Unity.
The bulls will point to Roblox’s growth rates. Between the first quarters of 2018 and 2021, Roblox’s DAUs more than quadrupled from 10.3 million to 42.1 million, its total hours engaged surged from 2.1 billion to 9.7 billion, and its average bookings per DAU jumped from $11.62 to $15.48.
Roblox’s revenue rose 56% in 2019, soared 82% in 2020, and analysts expect 167% growth this year. But next year, they expect its revenue to rise just 26% after the pandemic ends and more students return to school.
The bears will point out Roblox isn’t profitable, and it probably can’t achieve profitability without reducing its exchange rate between U.S. dollars and Robux for developers. However, doing so could alienate its developers and throttle the platform’s output of new content.
Why Roblox probably can’t hit $1 trillion by 2030
Even if Roblox maintains a premium price-to-sales ratio of 20 through 2030, it would need to generate $50 billion in annual sales to hit the $1 trillion mark. Roblox generated just $933 million in revenues in 2020, so it would need to generate a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 50% to hit $50 billion by 2030.
If Roblox’s valuations cool off, as they’ll likely do over the years, it will need to generate an ever higher CAGR to become a $1 trillion company. By comparison, Amazon grew its revenues at a CAGR of 27.4% over the past decade — and it currently trades at just four times this year’s sales. Therefore, it seems highly unlikely Roblox will become a $1 trillion company within the next decade.
But that doesn’t mean Roblox won’t generate multibagger gains over the next decade. It could remain popular long after the pandemic passes, attract a new generation of younger users, and launch more powerful tools for advanced users. As it continues to expand, economies of scale should kick in and strengthen its earnings growth. Therefore, Roblox could still have plenty of room to run — just don’t expect it to join the 12-zero club anytime soon.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.
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