Walmart thinks it's a good idea to let kids buy IRL items inside Roblox

Walmart’s Discovered experience started out last year as a way for kids to buy virtual items for Roblox inside the game. But today, that partnership is testing out an expanded pilot program that will allow teens to buy real-life goods stocked on digital shelves before they’re shipped to your door.

Available to children 13 and up in the US, the latest addition to Walmart Discovered is an IRL commerce shop featuring items created by partnered user-generated content creators including MD17_RBLX, Junozy, and Sarabxlla. Customers can browse and try on items inside virtual shops, after which the game will open a browser window to Walmart’s online store (displayed on an in-game laptop) in order to view and purchase physical items.

Furthermore, anyone who buys a real-world item from Discovered will receive a free digital twin so they can have a matching virtual representation of what they’ve purchased. Some examples of the first products getting the dual IRL and virtual treatment are a crochet bag from No Boundaries, a TAL stainless steel tumbler and Onn Bluetooth headphones.

According to Digiday, during this initial pilot phase (which will take place throughout May), Roblox will not be taking a cut from any of the physical sales made as part of Walmart’s Discovered experience as it looks to determine people’s level of interest. However, the parameters of the partnership may change going forward as Roblox gathers more data about how people embrace buying real goods inside virtual stores.

Unfortunately, while Roblux’s latest test may feel like an unusually exploitative way to squeeze even more money from teenagers (or more realistically their parent’s money), this is really just another small step in the company’s efforts to turn the game into an all-encompassing online marketplace. Last year, Roblox made a big push into digital marketing when it launched new ways to sell and present ads inside the game before later removing requirements for advertisers to create bespoke virtual experiences for each product.

So in case you needed yet another reason not to save payment info inside a game’s virtual store, now instead of wasting money on virtual items, kids can squander cash on junk that will clutter up their rooms too.

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