What’s next for Roblox brand partnerships in the metaverse – AdAge.com
Not all fun and games
Of course, as with any brand that is growing rapidly and receiving an influx of brand requests, there are growing pains.
For one, whenever a brand is looking to reach younger consumers on nascent platforms there are brand safety risks.
The open-world building aspect of the platform is both a strength and a curse. That same freedom to allow brands to interact with customers in a new way, also means that bad actors can erect sex clubs and create pole-dancing avatars. Fast Company and Rolling Stone have reported on the NSFW side of the platform and “condo games,” where players can simulate lewd acts and remove their avatar’s clothing. These are violations of Roblox’s community guidelines, and are often shut down within hours.
Roblox does have restrictions in place, including chat filters, parental controls, removing inappropriate clothing or accessories, and limiting it’s new voice chat feature to players over 13. Of course, there isn’t much to prevent a user from lying about their age when they sign up.
“We combine identity, friends, low friction, economy, and civility,” said Christina Wootton, Roblox’s VP of global brand partnerships. “Brands that we speak to know that it is a safe place and creates a positive environment.”
On the whole, brands seem to feel comfortable on the platform, especially when they have control over the experience.
When it comes to actually building on the platform, even smaller activations require more than just forging a partnership with Wootton and her team. Brands need to find a developer that can help with asset and world creation.
It can take two to three weeks to create five to 20 avatar items, according to Yon Raz-Fridman, founder and CEO of Supersocial, a Roblox development company that has built several of its own games on the platform. These then have to be submitted to Roblox for approval to be sold on the general marketplace. There are around 500 creators who can post items in the Roblox marketplace. Setting up larger and longer activations can take four to eight months to build out, and cost anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million.
Stil, releasing virtual goods and accessories is one more accessible way for brands to enter the platform. One out of five daily active users updated their avatar on any given day last year, according to Roblox. Twenty-five million virtual items were created, and more than 5.8 billion free or paid virtual items were acquired.
“The economic activity around outfits is enormous,” said Raz-Fridman.
For the most part, Roblox has been one of a few platforms thus far that have served as a bridge for brands into the metaverse. But as Web 3.0 gains momentum, new competitors are gaining steam: platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox have begun forging partnerships with brands. Miller Lite, for example, opened a virtual bar tied to the Super Bowl in Decentraland. And other platforms like Fortnite draw more of these 17-plus players.