In what has been described as “one of the saddest videos ever created” Walmart’s chief marketing officer took to the virtual stage on Monday to announce “Walmart Land” and “Universe of Play.”
The two “exciting” and “revolutionary” worlds have been launched in the hit video game Roblox, and yes, you heard it right, they’re based on Walmart. The mega-chain of drab discount and grocery stores has entered metaverse.
In possibly the most mocked metaverse moment since disgraced former UK health secretary Matt Hancock’s horrifying avatar or Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg’s botched Paris selfie, Walmart Land has been slammed online as “out of touch”, “bizarre” and “hellish”.
The two virtual worlds, aimed at young Walmart customers, let players collect virtual merchandise (described brazenly as ‘Vertch’), play games, earn virtual toys, enter fashion competitions and more.
It’s the first time Walmart has taken a shot at the metaverse, as the retail store continues to try and find new ways to engage a younger demographic.
“This is another step of reaching our customers in unexpected ways and in the places where they’re spending their time,” William White, chief marketing officer of Walmart US said, “we are excited to be one of the first major retailers to do this.”
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When young players arrive in Walmart Land they’re met with the sight of a colourful amusement park with Walmart-themed rides and locations – all set on an island shaped like the Walmart logo.
Players have the choice to head on over to the Hub Store, where they can redeem tokens for the aforementioned “verch”, including Walmart-themed clothing and branded electronics.
The metaverse has been the butt of the joke for some time now. With hundreds of high-quality, immersive experiences being released all the time for gamers – the attempts by big corporations at providing something they deem to be on the same level has so far been mostly unsuccessful. Walmart Land is no exception.
One disgruntled Twitter user wrote: “Walmart is the most empty IP I can imagine. There is no brand. They’re just shelves that sell things for cheap. They need to like invent a cartoon mascot or something first. Just throwing Walmart logos in Roblox is baffling.”
Another said: “Never understood marketing bozos from adult (boring) brands wasting loads of cash on lifeless, out-of-touch entries into some media/trend/platform trying to reach kids.”
Walmart isn’t the first mega-company to see possibilities in Roblox, which has a whopping 52 million daily users.
“Nikeland”, “Spotify Island” and other worlds created by Ralph Lauren and more all exist in the video game. Nikeland was even mentioned in Roblox’s end-of-year blog post as one of the most popular destinations in the game for players over 17.
Roblox’s market value sits at around $21.2bn, but like other online video games, its shares have fallen almost 66% so far this year.