The Unexpected Outcome Of Walmart's Metaverse Attempt

If you're not familiar with the metaverse, you're about to get mind boggled. According to Wired, the metaverse is best described as a mixture of virtual reality spaces and augmented reality. With endless limits of what you can do and interact with people, more brands and companies are finding themselves setting up their own places in the metaverse in ways to connect more, often with their younger consumers. 

In February, McDonald's became the first restaurant in the metaverse. Two months later, Panera joined a growing list of metaverse restaurants. Only a few months later came word of a Taco Bell wedding in the metaverse. The most recent company to hop on the bandwagon? Walmart. 

On September 26, Walmart announced the launch of their two new immersive experiences in the metaverse mega-platform Roblox: Walmart Land and Walmart's Universe of Play. The global Roblox community currently holds 52 million daily users, so there's a lot of potential for brands to get involved in creative new gaming opportunities.

According to Walmart, the retail giant opened the spaces with the hope to "offer unique interactive content and entertainment for customers, bringing to life the best of Walmart's 'isles' in a virtual world." The two virtual worlds actually look really cool, boasting bright-colored terrain full of interactive games relating to fashion, style, beauty, music, and entertainment, as well as offering users a virtual store, unlockable tokens and badges, virtual adventures, and more.

However, judging by the results of day one, the project still has a way to go.

Launch party for one

Let's just say that Walmart's metaverse launch party was pretty sad looking. In a recently surfaced video on Twitter, William White, Walmart's chief marketing officer, is seen walking out on the Walmart Land metaverse stage as a virtual Robloxian prepared to make a speech. The only problem? There was no crowd. Actually, that's unfair to say, considering there was one user front and center of the stage. 

"Welcome to Walmart Land," White's Robloxian said onstage. Although the business executive's avatar appeared to motion toward a big crowd, his speech was, in fact, only witnessed by @djkeebz, presumably the same metaverse explorer who recorded the "historical moment" for generations to come. "We are so excited for you to explore and enjoy one of Walmart's newest digital experiences on Roblox," White continued, speaking to the one sole face in the empty sea of Walmart Land.

During his address, White stated that Walmart opted to launch into the metaverse with Walmart's "next generation of shoppers in mind," targeting Gen-Z shoppers who are spending time on Roblox (via CNN Business). While this may be true, it doesn't seem like many Roblox users were especially keen to attend the official launch. At a minimum, it seems fair to say enthusiasm was somewhat lacking.

With that said, it's important to note that Walmart's launch into the metaverse won't actually make the company any money directly (via Forbes). Although Walmart could make money down the line by including more brands in the virtual, immersive experience, something tells us that operation is going to take a few more participants to be deemed a success.