So US-based retail giant Walmart has effectively taken its first steps into the “Metaverse” by creating two new experiences for Roblox players to enjoy. It may be a bit of a stretch to call Roblox a metaverse, but with over 55 million active daily users, it’s hard to argue that Roblox isn’t incredibly popular. As companies continue to explore new avenues in the virtual world, it stands to reason that their forays into metaverse platforms and online games are only set to increase. Let’s take a closer look at the Walmart Roblox experiences and see what they’re all about!
Reaching Consumers Where They Are
It’s becoming increasingly apparent to big retail stores and companies that the next generation of shoppers, namely Gen Z and Generation Alpha, don’t really respond to traditional media and marketing approaches. Indeed, a huge proportion of young people spend several hours a day playing games online. Whether it’s Minecraft , Fortnite or the incredibly popular Roblox, many young people socialize, explore and interact with different brands in virtual spaces on a perpetual basis. So instead of companies trying to get young consumers to come to them, they’re going directly to where they are, and by that I mean positioning themselves in these massive online gaming platforms.
It’s a smart move and a great way to get your brand right in front of players. But in Walmart’s case, they’ve gone a little farther than a simple advertising campaign or PR stunt. In fact, they’ve gone so far as to create not one, but two different worlds of players to enjoy within the Roblox “Metaverse.” So what are these two worlds? And what makes them so great to begin with? Well, to find out more about that, we’ll take a closer look at each one in turn and see just what it is Walmart’s hoping to achieve with these interactive digital experiences.
Universe of Play
So let’s begin with Walmart’s Universe of Play . What you’ll notice with this particular experience is that it’s aimed at a much younger audience, children between the ages of 3 and 12 I would guess (and if you’re an older kid who enjoys this stuff, it’s all good!) Other than this experience’s fantasy theme, the various activities on offer should give you some clue as to who this is actually intended for. In Universe of Play, players will be able to:
- Have their own L.O.L. Surprise! fashion show
- Hunt for missing dinosaur eggs in Jurassic World
- Join the PAW Patrol to help find Chickaletta
- Use a wand to create their own Magic Mixie , and
- Take a Razor scooter around a track in the sky
Now you can see why it’s called Universe of Play. By tapping into many different franchises that specifically appeal to children and adolescents, Walmart has created a miniature virtual world that kids can freely explore and have fun in. Personally I think gamifying experiences for adults and kids alike is great, and by appealing to what children love and are already familiar with, Walmart’s hoping that their Universe of Play will really resonate with their target audience.
I also have to admit that Roblox looks a lot sleeker than when I saw it a few months ago. The latest update, which is intended to capture the attention of older users, is definitely a step in the right direction. It seems a lot less glitchy, and the various elements in the game actually look pretty decent. I think Walmart have chosen a great time to get involved here, and judging by the feedback so far, I have a feeling this will do a lot of good for them.
The second experience aimed at an older audience (apparently people aged between 17 and 24 but I’m sure teenagers in general will love this) is called Walmart Land . OK, so no original name here, but hey, it’s Walmart, it’s their…land? So, Walmart Land it is! You’re not going to find any famous toy brands or 3D animated cartoons here, but you will find some well-known brands and personalities. So Walmart Land consists of two main areas, the first being Electric Island. Here users can:
- Play Netflix Trivia hosted by Noah Schnapp from Stranger Things
- Attend live concerts with popular performers
- Compete in the Dance Off Challenge, and
- Create beats in the DJ Booth Remix game
Somehow I feel like Electric Island may have been influenced by Electric Avenue . In any case, it’s entirely obvious that Electric Island is all about music, film and dancing. Yup, there’s little denying that the target demographic here is teenagers and young adults. Oh, and about the live concerts—Walmart Land’s Electric Fest will apparently feature performances by Madison Beer and Kane Brown . Walmart are pulling out all the stops here in their bid to gain the attention of younger audiences and get them to trust and love the Walmart brand.
The second part of Walmart Land is the House of Style! I’m pretty sure you can guess what this is all about, but if you’re really curious, here’s all the details of what you can do here. Players can:
- Win fashion competitions on skates on the Roller Fashion Runway
- Take fun avatar shots in the Fashion Wheel Photobooth
- Take the salon-inspired Manicure Challenge, and
- Conquer the Oversized Cosmetics Obby
That’s right, the House of Style is about fashion, fun, cosmetics and beauty! Walmart seem to have done their homework and are keenly aware of their audience’s likes and interests. Together with Electric Island, Walmart Land promises to be a fun-filled experience that players won’t soon forget!
The Beginning of Something Big?
Whether you like Roblox or not, or whether you like Walmart or not, with each passing day it becomes clearer that the Metaverse is here to stay and that big names and businesses are entering it in some way. And just for the record, Walmart isn’t the first company to enter Roblox. Nope, Nike already has NIKELAND , a virtual world created by Nike that offers similar experiences to those seen in Walmart Land.
Whether Walmart Land is a hit or not remains to be seen, but it seems like an awful lot of time, effort and investment has gone into creating these experiences for players to enjoy. I think Walmart will benefit immensely from this foray into the world of the digital, and if successful, I’m pretty sure we’ll see more experiences just like this cropping in other metaverses in the future (I’ll wait patiently for a Walmart The Sandbox experience, but please don’t take too long!)
This is exciting stuff, and this won’t be the last major company bringing an experience (or in this case, experiences) to a virtual world. Nope, soon enough, just about everyone who’s anyone will be in the Metaverse. You can bet on it…
So what do you think of Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play? Is this a brilliant move by Walmart? Or do you think it’s just a big company getting in on the old hype train? Let us know your thoughts!