Millions of parents across the country are suddenly being forced to juggle full-time work, parenting and homeschooling, all while keeping their kids inside, away from their friends and hopefully sane. Extensive screen time is inevitable in many households, but Roblox has emerged as an alternative to the undesirable experience of letting kids watch endless YouTube videos and cartoons.
Roblox Chief Business Officer Craig Donato said usage surged 40% in March from February, and the app trails only YouTube in terms of the biggest money makers on iOS, according to AppAnnie. It’s the opposite story from what’s facing most of corporate America, including once high-flying start-ups like Airbnb, Toast, ClassPass and Bird, which are slashing costs and, in many cases, cutting jobs.
Donato said Roblox now expects $1 billion in billings this year, largely from in-app purchases. The company, based in San Mateo, California, sends 25% of that money to developers, who use software called Roblox Studio to make games for the app. Roblox doesn’t disclose revenue, but data site SensorTower estimated in November that sales in 2019, up to that point, had climbed 30% from all of 2018 to $435 million. —Ari Levy