September 12, 2002 | Aluma staff
There was an interesting piece in Protocol last week about Roblox’s next moves, which according to Friday’s announcement include a slate of enhancements intended to better target its “fastest-growing demographic,” players 17-24. Nick Statt and Janko Roettgers authored the essay and did a nice job of covering the announcement, which featured comments from Roblox Chief Product Officer, Manuel Bronstein. Manuel has a long tenure of success in gaming, so the company found the right person for the CPO job.
The funny thing is that, about six months ago, I thought about writing Manuel and suggesting the company split Roblox into kids and non-kids’ brands. But the deeper I thought, the more problematic this strategy became. I did a project recently on trust and safety for kids in games, and it’s a total shitshow. Roblox has more content moderators than it has full-time employees, and this is BEFORE it introduced text and voice chat. Roblox is opening a Pandora’s box here, both with child predators and generally antisocial behavior.
Roblox stock is now around $45/share, down from its high of $141 but at least better than its low of $21. Unfortunately, it is unlikely the company will recover. For two years, the youth of the world were using their laptops to play Roblox all day when they were supposed to be attending Zoom classes. Now that these kids are back in school, this time can never be recaptured. (Not to mention an entire generation of kids lost two years of education to Roblox, but that’s a different topic.)
This phenomenon is pretty much limited to Roblox, but we can’t prove it—it’s all speculation. So, at the end of the day, it’s good to see Roblox making these moves. However, we believe it will create more problems than it solves and won’t really move the needle when it comes to growing its audience. It may improve engagement and create some monetization improvements, but that’s not going to bring the stock price back up above $100.