Brick-and-mortar… goes pixel-and-avatar: America’s largest retailer wants a slice of the metaverse pie. Yesterday Walmart launched two digital lands: “Walmart Land” is focused on “verch” (virtual avatar merch) and “Walmart’s Universe of Play” features games and toy worlds. Walmart chose tween-favorite gaming platform Roblox as its big-blox home.
Fashionably late… Walmart joins a growing # of brands moving into meta-territory. Last year Nike launched “Nikeland” on Roblox and Vans maker VF Corp. kicked off “Vans World,” also on Roblox. This year Miller Brewing opened a virtual bar in blockchain-based Decentraland, while Wendy’s graced Meta’s Horizon Worlds with a VR resto dubbed the “Wendyverse.”
- On Roblox: 21M+ people have visited Nikeland since its launch, and 81M+ have strolled through Vans World, with some paying Robux (in-game currency) to customize their digital shoes.
- Meta’s Horizon Worlds has struggled to attract crowds. Its reported monthly user base of 300K (as of February) includes users of a separate Meta app called Venues.
- Barrier to meta-entry: Horizon Worlds requires a $400 VR headset, but Roblox and Decentraland are desktop-first experiences (think: “The Sims”).
Brands want to be where the people are… even if it’s just their avatars. As companies like Walmart and Nike plant their flags in the metaverse, they’re looking to platforms that are already populated. Why build your shopping mall — digital or otherwise — in a ghost town when there’s a bustling metropolis next door? Roblox has 60M daily active users, up nearly 25% from last year. That could be a problem for higher-barrier Meta’s Horizon Worlds.