Walmart Teams Up with Unity for Immersive Metaverse Commerce
Walmart Inc. has forged a strategic alliance with a real-time 3D content development platform to introduce immersive shopping opportunities within the metaverse. The retail giant is collaborating with the Unity real-time 3D development environment, enabling developers to seamlessly integrate Walmart’s commerce application programming interfaces (APIs) directly into their games and applications. This groundbreaking move allows Unity creators to incorporate physical product sales into real-time 3D experiences across a vast array of metaverse platforms, totaling over 20.
Walmart’s Metaverse Expansion
Walmart’s entry into the metaverse began in September 2022 with the launch of two immersive experiences on the Roblox gaming platform. In September 2023, the company revealed its intention to deepen commercial involvement in “virtual worlds.” Over the past year, Walmart has experimented with immersive commerce in various online environments, including the Roblox-based Supercampus gamified setting. Notably, three of these experiences, developed with Unity, have successfully integrated Walmart’s commerce APIs.
Among the Unity-enhanced experiences is “House Flip,” a mobile game developed by fun-gi. Players engaged in renovating, decorating, and selling virtual homes can now purchase real-life counterparts of in-game items. Another example is “Avakin Life,” developed by Lockwood Publishing, where Walmart introduced the ability for players to acquire virtual twins of their latest apparel or receive the virtual item as a complimentary bonus with the purchase of the physical item. Additionally, Walmart launched its inaugural virtual clothing line, CoreMood Collective, in this virtual realm.
Walmart’s Presence in Zepeto
On Naver Z’s flagship platform, Zepeto, Walmart has integrated both its Scoop and CoreMood Collective brands into the 3D avatar-based social space. The collaboration between Walmart and Zepeto aims to incorporate immersive commerce capabilities into specific platform spaces for future brand integrations.
Enabling Innovation in Metaverse Commerce
Unity, with over 1.1 million developers using its editor monthly and supporting an average of 3.6 billion monthly downloads of Unity-developed apps globally, sees Walmart’s initiative as a catalyst for innovation in metaverse commerce. The partnership opens up new revenue streams for Unity developers, allowing them to keep players engaged within their games and experiences while facilitating seamless transactions for physical products.
Walmart’s Store No. 8 tech incubator, represented by Tom Kang, VP, and GM of metaverse commerce, acknowledges the unique opportunity to bridge the physical and digital realms. Kang emphasizes that by exposing Walmart’s commerce APIs to the Unity development community, developers can enhance user engagement and simplify transactions for physical products without requiring users to leave the gaming environment.
Marc Whitten, President of Create at Unity, expresses excitement about the announcement, foreseeing it as a catalyst for innovative commerce within games and virtual experiences. The collaboration between Walmart and Unity signifies a pioneering effort to intertwine the realms of traditional retail and the evolving landscape of the metaverse.