It’s 2022, which means that at least one company is announcing some new thing that is connected to NFTs or the metaverse in an attempt to stay relevant in our rapidly collapsing capitalist hellscape. Today’s wheel spins landed on Walmart, Roblox, and “The Metaverse.”
Retail giant and horrible company Walmart is launching two different virtual worlds in the uber-popular online game Roblox. According to CNBC, these virtual Walmart worlds will include things that totally don’t exist at any actual Walmart in the world, like a blimp that drops toys, music festivals featuring popular artists, and free-to-play mini-games and activities. Oh, and there’s a virtual store where people can buy virtual merchandise apparently called “Verch.” I’ve learned this word has been around for a bit and I’m both horrified by it and sad that I had to learn it even existed.
These two new Roblox “experiences” are called “Walmart Land” and “Walmart’s Universe of Play.” Both launched in Roblox earlier today.
William White, Walmart’s chief marketing officer, said that these new Roblox worlds are sort of a “testing ground” for the company as it considers investing in the metaverse (aka: a silly concept with no real definition beyond being a buzzword attached to hundreds of disconnected projects and ideas). White said the experiences were designed to appeal to the “next generation of shoppers,” specifically people age 25 or younger. Now, read with me these actual words and sentences that this human being said in regard to Roblox and Walmart:
“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?” White said. “That’s what we’re trying to accomplish here.“
If I ever start speaking this way, please push me off a cliff. You have my full permission. You’ll be doing me a favor. Honestly.
Earlier this year Walmart filed for metaverse-related trademarks that seem to indicate the company has larger plans involving virtual currencies, digital goods, and even NFTs. White wouldn’t say how or if any of these trademarks will actually be used, but come on…
Walmart won’t make any money directly from these new “immersive experiences” currently, but it could sell brands access to these experiences in the future. It also suggested these Roblox worlds could encourage people to make the leap from virtually visiting Walmart to actually shopping in-store or online.
For example, in Walmart’s Universe of Play world, users can find and play various games that feature some of the best-selling toys this year—including Jurassic World and Paw Patrol characters. The idea is that kids play these games, get excited about these toys and brands and then bug their parents to buy this stuff at Walmart. A similar tactic can be found in the other Roblox world, which includes a large obstacle course featuring items from Walmart’s Gen-Z-focused beauty and make-up brands. There’s also a virtual dressing room featuring clothes and accessories from Free Assembly, its exclusive fashion line.
Yes, for those who have been mostly avoiding all this nonsense, the metaverse is just a new way to try and sell more shit to people and young kids online. I mean, of course, it is. That’s why so many companies are looking to jump into the metaverse, even before it’s really been defined or created.