The metaverse is gaining popularity among consumers and investors after the company formerly known as Facebook announced it was making a significant investment in resources to become a metaverse leader. Now known as Meta Platforms (META 0.85%), the company that started all the commotion is one of my favorite metaverse stocks to buy in 2022.
My other favorite is one of the pioneers of the metaverse, Roblox (RBLX 3.23%). The company is a favorite with kids 16 and younger although it's increasingly being adopted by an older demographic as well. What follows is a more detailed look into what makes these two my metaverse stock picks for 2022.
Already the titan of the social-media world, Meta Platforms has made a bold move into the metaverse industry. The company announced it will have spent at least $10 billion on the expansion in fiscal 2021 and is likely to spend more in the years to follow. The move could be in response to decelerating revenue growth in the company's core social-media business.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the metaverse is something he's long been interested in, and the timing could be perfect right now. Zuckerberg also said that he aims to help over 1 billion people be active on the metaverse before the decade is over. While this is a bold ambition, it's not an unreasonable one from someone leading a company with over 3.5 billion monthly active users across its family of apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
What's more, Meta Platforms has the resources to invest in growing its new line of business. Between 2016 and 2020, the company has generated over $100 billion in operating income. And as of Sept. 30, Meta Platforms had over $58 billion in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet.
While Meta Platforms is just now building its metaverse, Roblox has had a several-year head start. Roblox's metaverse platform has been primarily focused on kids and teenagers -- 48.9% of its daily active users are 13 years old or younger. It is growing users at a healthy rate, from 18.4 million in the third quarter of 2019 to 47.3 million in its most recent quarter ended Sept. 30.
Roblox is free to join and generates revenue by selling an in-game currency called Robux. The company is perhaps demonstrating the lucrative, cash-generating ability of the metaverse. It earned $181 million in cash flow from operations on revenue of $509 million in the third quarter. That's even before Roblox has developed a mechanism for generating income from players that never deposit money on the platform.
Nevertheless, Roblox increased revenue by over 100% in the third quarter. If the company can find a way to earn revenue from non-paying players -- for instance, showing them advertisements -- this could be a catalyst for boosting revenue growth even higher.
The metaverse industry is in its infancy and could spend decades expanding. Investing in metaverse stocks could be risky, but the potential reward could be worth the risk. For those of who want to dive into it in 2022, Meta Platforms and Roblox are my two favorite stocks to buy.