The video game space has evolved massively from the original Pong release to consumer. As gaming has moved online, new models have emerged to capture consumer leisure time and dollars. Roblox has been able to capitalize on one of the newest trends, user-generated content. But is the company just riding an industry wave? In today’s Insight Flash, we combine our US and UK Transact data with our newly-launched Roblox CE Web data to examine the company’s prospects.
In the US, Video Games have generally been underperforming Hardware for much of the last year as shoppers upgraded their work-from-home spaces. Yet, the subindustry was still a strong overall performer last year, with new console releases and improvements to online platforms driving double-digit Video Game spend growth from March 2020 – February 2021, with growth of about 50% in January and February of 2021 coming close to April’s peak of 64%. The UK showed similar patterns, with Hardware spend dominating but Video Game spend growth also strong and even outpacing the US, doubling in April 2020 and growing over 60% in January and February 2021.
Video Game Industry and Subindustry Spend Growth
In the US, growth from incumbents was dwarfed by growth from recent IPO Roblox, with almost 250% spend growth over the last year. Direct-to-Consumer growth for other players was still strong, however, with Steam at 72%, Nintendo and Blizzard.com at 47%, and PlayStation at 36%. In the UK, direct-to-consumer growth was much stronger for Nintendo at 121%, somewhat stronger for PlayStation at 55% and Blizzard.com at 57%, and slightly stronger for Steam at 75%. Yet, Roblox actually saw a y/y decline in spend growth, down -64%.
Video Game Companies
Roblox growth has slowed since the summer, with back-to-school limiting hours played. Our data estimates 577M hours played over the past four weeks, down from 640M in the four weeks ending August 2. Estimated weekly average concurrent users hit its peak during the Christmas break in the week ending 1/3/2021 at 3.84M, and has remained below 3.5M since the end of February.