The Current Podcast: Roblox's Christina Wootton
Parents with children over 10 will likely know Roblox as a gaming platform, which bills itself as the ultimate virtual universe that allows creating and sharing experiences with friends. But as the concept of the metaverse has gone mainstream, Roblox is already positioned as a leading metaverse platform — a universe of millions of immersive experiences that attracts over 50 million users a day — over half of whom are now older than 13. Within Roblox, people interact as avatars and purchase in-game currency called Robux to acquire digital items that they then collect or use to dress up their avatars.
The marketing opportunities of this new space are not lost on major brands like Warner Bros., Gucci, Netflix and others who have partnered with Roblox to bring virtual experiences, concerts, and launch parties to its users. Christina Wootton, vice president of global brand partnerships at Roblox, recently discussed the power of the metaverse, how the platform is on the frontlines innovating and driving its development, and how brands can interact on the platform, on our Current Podcast.
“We’re ushering in a new category of human co-experience,” says Wootton, “If you think about ways people connect around the world with shared experiences that allow them to socialize and engage and really connect with one another.”
For marketers working to understand the potential of the metaverse, Wootton shared some key insights:
Wootton advises that brands should understand the platform and its audience, but also think about how their values come into play, before introducing a digital world or digital merchandise on the platform if they want to make a splash. “Brands need to be thoughtful and not just bring their IP onto the platform and think it will resonate immediately,” she says.
Collaborate with developers
One authentic way into the Roblox world is for brands to work directly with developers, or creators, behind the massive virtual worlds on the platform. In fact, Roblox often works with brands to connect them with developers to either create new worlds or integrate them in existing experiences. When Vans was seeking to come to the platform, it worked with Roblox developers to create Vans World, an experience that has generated more than 50 million visits since last September, and Wootton says. “It came through in such a beautiful way.”
Gaming is only the start
While gaming is a popular component of many brands’ experiences on the metaverse platform, players’ interactions don’t stop there. “Our platform has evolved beyond just gaming,” says Wootton. This past year, Ralph Lauren’s holiday experience on Roblox didn’t involve gameplay. Instead, visitors could tour an alpine village where they could sip hot chocolate, ice skate and shop for digital fashion. “It’s about creating these moments that are memorable.”
Bridging the virtual with the real-world
Wootton says more brands are approaching the platform with ways that can merge the virtual with the in-person and physical. For instance, Nerf introduced an original virtual product to the platform that players could then find on actual store shelves for a discount. Chipotle also introduced a burrito activation and gave out codes for visitors they could then use at a real store. “There’s so many fascinating things you can do with this,” says Wootton.
Listen to the full conversation below: