Retail Giant Joins Metaverse With Walmart Land & Walmart’s Universe of Play

U.S. multinational Walmart launches two strategic initiatives in the Roblox metaverse.

Two new initiatives, Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play, set to launch on Monday, Sep. 26, 2022, will target Roblox’s reported player base of 52 million.

Walmart Land will offer interactive, immersive experiences on different “isles,” focusing on its fashion, beauty, and entertainment businesses. Children can enjoy Walmart’s Universe of Play, a virtual toy nirvana.

“We’re showing up in a big way – creating community, content, entertainment, and games through the launch of Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play. Roblox is one of the fastest growing and largest platforms in the metaverse, and we know our customers are spending loads of time there. So, we’re focusing on creating new and innovative experiences that excite them, something we’re already doing in the communities where they live, and now, the virtual worlds where they play,” said William White, head of marketing at Walmart.

Walmart joins high-profile fashion powerhouses Gucci and Ralph Lauren in leveraging Roblox’s huge fanbase to advance its corporate marketing strategy. The gaming company announced that it would introduce in-game 3-D portals that would take users to branded experiences like Gucci’s Gucci Town and Chipotle’s virtual restaurants.

Founders David Baszucki and Erik Cassel first conceived the idea for Roblox in 2004 as a gaming hub featuring games from different creators. The company officially launched in 2006.

No profit yet

Among Walmart Land’s immersive experiences targeted at the next generation of customers will be the music-focused Electric Island and Electric Fest and the fashion and beauty-focused House of Style. Users can also purchase virtual merchandise in a virtual store and participate in contests and games where they can earn in-game tokens.

On the other hand, Walmart Play will allow users to earn coins for collecting virtual toys, offering five immersive games with characters from Jurassic World, Paw Patrol, and Razor Scooters. Players’ avatars will be able to navigate the virtual worlds using hoverboards.

Initially, the metaverse experiences won’t earn the retailer money. All in-metaverse awards will be used to buy virtual merchandise.

Walmart’s pivot to the metaverse follows live-streamed shopper events hosted on Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok, as the pandemic curtailed in-person shopping. The company also filed multiple patents in Dec. 2021 related to the selling of virtual goods, a virtual currency, and NFTs.

The company has remained silent on whether these filings will play a part in the company’s Web3 plans.

It appears Roblox is growing in popularity as the de facto destination for the retail-driven metaverse. Shoe company Clarks, Swedish music-streaming giant Spotify AB, and American restaurant chain Chipotle have all tested the waters of metaverse engagement, a largely untested marketing avenue. Visitors to Gucci’s Gucci Town in Roblox can earn an in-game currency that can be spent on digital goods.

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