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Revisioning reality in the metaverse

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US game developer Roblox Corporation’s acquisition of Guilded, the online platform for people to come together and communicate in meaningful ways, is further proof that the metaverse – a world in which the digital and physical are blurred – is having a bit of a moment.

It should also be a wake-up call for every brand.

True, Roblox Corporation’s eponymous Roblox game was the highest-grossing game across the App Store and Google Play this July. And yes, Guilded – a competitor to the more famous Discord – was originally conceived as a platform to unite online gaming communities.

Yet Roblox’s ambition beyond gaming – demonstrated by Party Place, the virtual hangout space it launched in response to the pandemic – and Guilded’s voice chat, video chat and integrated calendar and scheduling tools point to something else.

A significant acceleration of the evolution beyond gaming of online tools that enable anyone to imagine, create, have fun with friends, work – even campaign – in an immersive, interactive, virtual space is now heralded by Roblox and Guilded’s coming together.

Interest in the metaverse, a term first coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash (then closely associated with gaming), has grown significantly over the past 18 months. The pandemic crisis forced all brands to adapt at speed last year, as lockdown measures forced many of us to conduct much of daily life – from work to entertainment, and shopping to social interaction – online via screens.

Consumers moved dramatically to online channels; food and household categories recorded an average........

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