retail news in context, analysis with attitude

From TechCrunch, a story about how Walmart "is stepping into the metaverse with two new experiences on Roblox: 'Walmart Land' and 'Universe of Play.' The virtual worlds are aimed at younger Walmart customers and let Roblox players collect new virtual merchandise, play games featuring toys and characters, earn toys from a blimp, attend live concerts, win fashion competitions and more.

"This marks the retail store’s first time trying virtual worlds as it continues experimenting with new ways to reach the next generation of shoppers, Generation Alpha and Gen Z.  Walmart has tried other virtual tech before, such as its new AI-powered virtual try-on technology.

"William White, chief marketing officer of Walmart U.S., said in a statement, 'This is another step of reaching our customers in unexpected ways and in the places where they’re spending their time. We are excited to be one of the first major retailers to do this'."

KC's View:

I feel so old.  I had no idea what any of this Roblox stuff means.

So, I went on Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge) to find out.  Here's what I learned:  

"Roblox is an online game platform and game creation system developed by Roblox Corporation that allows users to program games and play games created by other users. Created by David Baszucki and Erik Cassel in 2004 and released in 2006, the platform hosts user-created games of multiple genres coded in the programming language Lua … Roblox is free to play, with in-game purchases available through a virtual currency called Robux. As of August 2020, Roblox had over 164 million monthly active users, including more than half of all American children under 16.  Although Roblox has received generally positive reviews from critics, it has faced criticism for its moderation, microtransactions, and exploitative practices directed toward children."

I now feel only marginally more informed than before … though I'm not sure that whole "microtransactions" thing will end up being a good thing for Walmart.