Roblox has become one of the biggest success stories of the metaverse. Yet despite the gaming platform boasting more than 200 million estimated monthly users—over 1,000 times that of Meta’s Horizon Worlds—and brands flocking to create experiences within it, there’s a growing debate over whether Roblox is technically even part of the metaverse.
The platform’s lack of Web3 tools and unclear distinctions from traditional video games have stirred up disagreement among marketers as they navigate the nascent world of Web3.
There are those like Kristin Patrick, for example, the chief marketing officer at Claire’s who sees Roblox as the closest approximation to a true metaverse due to its “shared community experiences and interactive events,” she told Ad Age. Claire’s launched its first “world” in Roblox, a series of branded districts, earlier this month.
Then there are marketers like Akbar Hamid, the founder and CEO of creative consultancy 5th Column, who believes that any meaningful metaverse must be built using blockchain infrastructure. While he’s willing to call Roblox a “closed” metaverse—meaning one that is cut off from other metaverse worlds—Hamid mainly sees the application as a traditional gaming platform that features metaverse elements.
Roblox, unsurprisingly, considers itself a part of the metaverse, citing as evidence its “shared experiences in immersive 3D spaces,” a spokesperson told Ad Age.
In the past four months alone, at least two dozen major brands have launched Roblox activations, from Walmart and Claire’s to FIFA and iHeartMedia. And in the first half of 2022, Roblox's revenue jumped 34%, to nearly $1.13 billion.