Could we finally be seeing the wheels turn on Walmart’s metaverse initiatives? Earlier this year, patent filings from the company signaled an impending blockchain or NFT related engagement – but nearly a year later, little has been seen. That could be on the verge on changing, as the retailer is tapping Roblox for their first phase of metaverse exploration. While no reports of NFTs or other blockchain-related activity have been cited yet, it could certainly signal the first step into the space.
Let’s take a look at what we know from today’s announcements, and what could be on the horizon for the shopping behemoth.
Walmart is premiering two metaverse experiences today as part of their partnership with Roblox: Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play. These two new digital activations will largely be considered ‘testing grounds,’ according to Walmart’s marketing chief William White. White added that young Millennial and Gen Z consumers are top of mind for this activation. Reports have cited a variety of other features, including shoppable recipes, livestreamed events and an AR feature for furniture.
In the meantime, the new Walmart experiences are expected to include “a blimp that drops toys, a music festival with hot artists, a bunch of different games, and a store of virtual merchandise, or “verch,” which matches what customers may find in Walmart’s stores and on its website,” according to reports.
Roblox (RBLX) will be host to Walmart's first 'metaverse' exploration. | Source: NYSE: RBLX on TradingView.com
Past Presence To Now
At the beginning of the year, Walmart secured seven total patents around virtual and AR-related engagement; it looks like this week’s movement is the first developments from those efforts. At the time, the company said that they “are testing new ideas all the time. Some ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And some [they] test, iterate, and learn from.” It looks like this week is the next test run for the retailer.
Speculation has long surrounded the company, however, when it comes to crypto. A handful of physical stores have hosted Bitcoin ATMs in the past, a Walmart crypto token has been speculated in the past, and the company has even gone out to hire crypto-focused roles in executive positions in recent years.
We’ll see if Roblox spurs greater crypto-related projects, such as NFTs, down the line.
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