The metaverse. It’s hard to go five minutes in the world of investing without hearing about it. In fact, just about any company that can claim any stake in this new virtual world is doing so, or at least trying. The company formerly known as Facebook even changed its name to Meta Platforms to signify its focus on the metaverse.

While some companies may be more aspirational in their desire to capitalize on the metaverse, one company has already created enormously popular virtual worlds.

Two children lying on floor and playing on a tablet.

Image source: Getty Images.

Growing and keeping users

Roblox (NYSE:RBLX) is a gaming platform that is enormously popular with younger children, with approximately half of its users aged 13 or under. In third-quarter 2021, daily active users reached 47 million compared to 36 million in Q3 2020, a 31% increase. These users are also playing more, increasing the number of hours engaged by 29% to 11 billion.

Part of its appeal is that Roblox features many games within its platform, and several of them offer virtual worlds (the metaverse) where users can interact with one another. Millions of children are socializing in Roblox without ever leaving their homes. Kids are notoriously fickle, so the challenge for Roblox is keeping these users as they get older, hopefully preventing them from leaving the platform in favor of the next big thing.

Moving real-world events into the metaverse

One way Roblox hopes to keep its young user base engaged is by hosting events. Recently, Roblox invited music star David Guetta to perform a DJ set as a digital avatar in Roblox. Concertgoers were able to navigate through a digital world and interact with other users through activities like DJ and dance battles. This event was only the most recent in a series of events held within Roblox. Past concerts have featured acts like Ava Max, Why Don’t We, Royal Blood, and Twenty One Pilots.

Roblox is trying to increase the popularity of its events where the majority of users are 13 or older. These events, which the company calls “aged up,” are beginning to take hold. In Q3, 28% of the top 1,000 experiences were aged up compared to just 10% in the year-ago quarter. This should be a successful strategy, as these concerts offer reasons for users to remain on the platform even as other gaming options become more appealing.

Monetizing the metaverse

Keeping users on the platform is important, considering most of Roblox’s revenue comes from the purchase of its digital currency, Robux. The company signed a deal with skateboarding and apparel company Vans to create “Vans World,” which provides opportunities for users to purchase Vans products for their digital avatars. This experience drew 40 million visits in its first month. It’s easy to see how other brands will recognize the value in having a presence in the metaverse, and Roblox should be able to show it has the experience and success in hosting those brands.

Not the only game in town

Roblox is far from the only company looking to draw users into metaverse experiences. Meta Platforms, for example, also offers a similar experience through its Oculus device. However, Roblox is an absolute hit with younger children who could ultimately grow up with the company as it adds more and more experiences. This provides a nice pipeline of users who come to the platform for the gaming and social experience but remain even as they get older for events.

Time will tell just how much of our lives the metaverse will become. But for those who believe the metaverse is the next big thing, Roblox has a pretty solid plan in place to become the winner in this space.

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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