Retail, Roblox and the Metaverse | WARC | The Feed
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Retail, Roblox and the Metaverse
Since the idea of the ‘Metaverse’ entered common parlance, its lucrative commercial possibilities have been a critical part of the conversation – some early movers are attempting to build businesses and make real money in what is still an embryonic idea.
Meanwhile, crypto exchanges like FTX are launching into services to help companies get involved with crypto assets in the gaming world, whether NFTs or currencies in games, with an eye on the metaverse.
Why it matters
Current experiences are typically created in Roblox, a virtual world building and playing platform, where Nike, Gucci, Vans, and now fast-fashion retailer Forever21 operate. Whether or not this constitutes the metaverse is beside the point; the current situation of brands exploring the hype is a good time to go in and explore what’s happening and how it could work.
Roblox’s user-base is growing up, suggesting that there is a market here beyond teens, and agencies are springing up to help build experiences and commercial opportunities in what JP Morgan already identifies as a $54 billion global market in virtual goods.
FTX’s approach is smart, whether you think crypto is the future or not, with crypto-as-a-service a straightforward point of entry for non-technical brands. The risk, however, remains gamer resistance to what is widely seen in the community as an attempt to make a quick buck.
What’s going on
So far, the experiences from the above brands track closely to their real-life incarnations:
- Skatewear brand Vans operates a skate park experience, similar to its House of Vans series of venues.
- Nikeland, meanwhile, stretches across sports while offering users tools to customise and develop their own games within the experience, and features Nike athletes like LeBron James.
- Forever21’s Shop City is a huge store, where “you and your self-expression come first”.
At all of these, you can buy digital products to customise a character using Roblox’s in-game currency, Robux. While they don’t cost very much money – around $0.75, for a Forever21 beanie, in an example cited in the FT – it’s important to note that there are no marginal costs.
When it comes to minting assets on a blockchain, however, there are indeed marginal costs. FTX is planning to build a business off this, after all. However, the jury is still out on whether crypto and gaming can mix.
Thinking about these experiences should be different from real world retail. There’s very little money to be made at the moment, meaning this is an exploratory brand move.
It’s also critical to note that while the hype around the metaverse is at a predictable point of frenzy, many consumers remain sceptical, while others simply see no need for it whatsoever.
Sourced from The Verge, WARC, Roblox, JP Morgan, FT, Forrester. [Image: Vans/Roblox]
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