The past and present of “Metaverse First Unit”

Editor’s note

There is no shortage of legends in the capital market. Here, people are chasing dreams and thirsting for wealth. Some people take their dreams as their horses and keep their feet on the ground; others play financial skills, or even violate regulations and laws. We hope to record the story of the capital market by reviewing the vivid cases one by one. Of course, it can also be an accident. Recently, the Securities Times has launched a special column “Stocks Council” for readers.

Today’s story is about the first strand of the meta universe. In June 2019, a technology company named Roblox was incorporated in Shenzhen, and the sole shareholder was a Hong Kong company named Roblox HK. One and a half years later, Roblox was listed on NASDAQ in the United States. Under the halo of “Meta Universe’s first share”, Roblox has a market value of up to US$50 billion.

David Baszuki’s past

In 1963, David Baszucki was born in Canada.

Until graduating from university, David didn’t show too much extraordinary, even if he was enrolled in Stanford University, one of the top universities in the United States, even if his major was Stanford’s top computer major.

In 1985, he graduated from Stanford University. Like most Stanford graduates, he prefers to start a business in Silicon Valley near the school rather than joining a large technology company.

In 1989, David and his brother Greg Baszucki established a company called Knowledge Revolution. In David’s words, he hopes to establish the first physics laboratory in the computer world that uses animation. Players can take ropes, pulleys, balls and anything used in physics textbooks to build anything imaginable in this laboratory.

This whimsical game at the time was not favored at first, but David was still fascinated by it and persevered.

In December 1998, the Knowledge Revolution was acquired by MSC Software at a price of 20 million U.S. dollars. David also joined MSC as an executive.

The entrepreneurial spirit in his bones did not let David squander his position as an executive for too long.

In 2003, David left MSC and established Baszucki & Associates, an angel investment company, to invest in the technology sector. His investment projects include social media Friendster.

How did Roblox come from?

A year later, David started his own business again.

Together with MSC’s former colleague Eric Kassel, he founded Roblox, a new term that was split and merged from Robots and Blocks. Roblox is both a game and a community. In the community, players can either play games developed by others, or develop their own games for others to play.

When he was asked why he started a business again in an interview with Forbes magazine, he said that he saw that children’s eyes glow when they use software to create new things. He hopes to build an ultimate platform for imagination. “I also like construction toys. I see the development direction of 3D rendering. I know very well that there is an opportunity to create an immersive 3D multiplayer game platform in the cloud, so that people can imagine, create and share their experiences together. .”

In David’s words: “Roblox is a 3D social platform where you and your friends can pretend to be in different places. You can pretend to be attending a fashion show, or pretend you are surviving in a tornado, or you want to go Work in a pizzeria or you are a bird and survive by catching insects. Just like when I was a kid, I would go out to play pirate games. On Roblox, people play in a 3D environment created by the community.”

The past and present of "Metaverse First Unit"

Figure: Screenshot of Rob Lesi’s player page

Of course, in order to let more people learn to develop games and enrich the game ecology, Roblox also provides game developers with Roblox Studio, a tool editor, which all developers can use for free. At the same time, the company will also provide programming language learning, 3D scene construction, programming learning and other content to help game developers complete their own designs.

From the company’s establishment to 2012, Roblox has been building a community platform and structure to create a new ecology. It wasn’t until 2013 that the company began commercialization and began to introduce a creator trading program. Developers can obtain virtual currency Robux through micro-transactions and in-game sales of virtual goods.

In 2016, the company began to accelerate commercialization and internationalization, and continued to improve its engine and community building. With Roblox accessing Microsoft’s game console Xbox and FaceBook’s virtual reality hardware Oculus in 2016, the company has basically completed the cross-platform layout of devices such as PC, mobile, console and VR.

In 2019, Roblox launched the Premium paid membership system and launched the Avatar virtual item trading market; on the other hand, it continued to promote internationalization, entered South America, Russia and other markets, and established a joint venture company Roblox with Tencent .

The past and present of "Metaverse First Unit"

Picture: Rob Lesi’s creative space

Before 2020, the company’s active users are still growing. However, an epidemic has caused an explosive growth of Roblox users who have both entertainment and social attributes.

In March 2021, the company officially registered on the New York Stock Exchange and became the “Meta Universe First Share”.

Roblox’s future

Roblox did not choose the traditional way to log in to the capital market, but chose a direct listing method, that is, directly listed and traded without new financing through a brokerage firm.

On the day of listing, Roblox’s stock price rose from $45 to $70, and its market value exceeded $40 billion. In the following trading days, the stock price went all the way up and exceeded $100, and the market value exceeded $50 billion.

The past and present of "Metaverse First Unit"

Figure: Roblox stock price trend after listing

However, the future of Roblox is still very controversial.

The main income of Roblox comes from the top-up of Robux virtual currency and advertising. Even though the number of users and revenue of the company in the second quarter of this year hit a new high, the company’s losses are still increasing. In the second quarter, it lost US$140 million, an increase of US$69 million year-on-year.

But on Wall Street, losses are not a problem, Roblox is facing increasingly larger competitors. Almost all social giants and gaming giants have seen the development of this market.

Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will set up a meta-universe product team under the VR laboratory team, and continue to conduct product and service research and development in VR/AR and other meta-universe-related fields. By 2025, the company hopes to complete the meta-universe from a social media platform company. The transformation of the company.

In addition to directly investing in Roblox and assisting Roblox’s expansion in China, Tencent builds a true Internet with its strong resources in the social and gaming fields.

A more critical data is: Roblox has 42.1 million active users and 8 million active developers. But among the tens of millions of active users, users under 13 accounted for 54%, and users over 25 accounted for only 15%.

In that interview in 2016, the reporter once asked David whether the children spent too much time on their phones? David said: I hope the children play outdoors as much as possible. But when they use a mobile phone, I prefer them to use it in an imaginative and creative way, rather than consuming content or following steps programmatically.

That year, he had 3 daughters and 1 son. The three girls often use mobile phones instead of computers to play social media and listen to music. His son studies computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, and he has no free time.



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