Walmart, the North American retail giant, has launched a metaverse pair of “immersive experiences” in online gaming platform Roblox.
It has been reported that the retailer is presenting the launch as an ambitious move into the metaverse, but the “experiences” — two online worlds dubbed Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play, are really just ways to advertise toys to children.
However, Roblox may seem trivial, but it has more than 50 million daily active users, two-thirds of which are under the age of 16. That means it’s probably Walmart experimenting with virtual worlds to try and hook this market.
The report said that inside are a variety of minigames and experiences, including a Ferris wheel, “interactive piano walkway,” and DJ booth, most of which serve to funnel players towards certain brands. So, for example, a virtual dressing room lets you spend coins collected in Walmart Land to deck out your avatar with Skullcandy headphones or a Fitbit fitness tracker.
Likewise, in Universe of Play you can race Razor scooters round a track or hang out with PAW Patrol characters. It’s all incredibly basic in terms of graphics and gameplay mechanics, but that’s par for the course for Roblox.
William White, the Chief Marketing Officer of Walmart, asked:
“How are we driving relevance in cultural conversation? How are we developing community and engagement? How are we moving the needle from a brand favorability [standpoint] with younger audiences?”
Thus, White said:
“That’s what we’re trying to accomplish here.”