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Gaming platform Roblox earns interest of online investors as it goes public

Roblox Corp. joined the ranks of the so-called "meme stocks" such as GameStop at the centre of social media-fuelled rallies that have gripped Wall Street when the gaming platform became a publicly traded company on Wednesday.

Roblox shares were up 54% at end of 1st day of NYSE trading

The Roblox logo is displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. The online gaming service has grown from its inception in 2004 to boast 37 million daily users and became a publicly traded company on Wednesday. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

Roblox Corp. joined the ranks of the so-called "meme stocks" such as GameStop at the centre of social media-fuelled rallies that have gripped Wall Street when the gaming platform became a publicly traded company on Wednesday.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based gaming site, whose revenues surged last year as hundreds of millions of kids were marooned in their homes by coronavirus shutdowns, has spent months preparing for its stock market launch.

Roblox is looking to capitalize on a red-hot market for new share issues, and has opted to go public through a direct listing meaning it had not sold any shares in advance of its market debut on Wednesday.

Dozens of posts on social media platforms including Reddit suggest the company's shares will draw a wave of buying from the army of small-time investors who have shocked institutional investors with their ability this year to move shares in companies including GameStop, AMC Inc and BlackBerry

The New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday set a reference price of $45 US for shares of the U.S. gaming platform, implying a market value for the company of around $30 billion. But on Wednesday, its shares ended at 54 per cent above that price, thus valuing the company at about $45 billion.

Roblox was founded in 2004 by Erik Cassel and David Baszucki, who was born in Canada, although its journey began in 1989 when Baszucki and Cassel programmed a 2D simulated physics lab that would later lay the groundwork for the company.

Roblox has since grown into a community of more than eight million active developers who produce their own 3D multi-player games each month using the company's design tool.

On an average 37.1 million people globally log on to Roblox daily to connect with friends, according to the company's filing, and play some of its most popular games such as Royale High, Adopt Me!, Murder Mystery 2, Jailbreak and Speed Run 4.

In 2020, people stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic fuelled an 85 per cent year-on-year jump in Roblox's daily active users to 32.6 million across more than 180 countries.

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