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Roblox hopes that its user-generated content platform will become the metaverse, and it made some headway this week as it announced brand partnerships this week with McLaren Racing, Alo Yoga, The Brit Awards, and the NFL.

Any one of those deals would have been a big one to announce, but all four of them in one week shows how attractive Roblox’s platform has become with nearly 50 million daily active users.

And it shows that brands don’t want to miss out on the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. Companies like Facebook/Meta are busy building their own versions of the metaverse, and all of them see it as the next version of computing and the internet.

The brands are also showing that they trust Roblox. That’s important for Roblox, as it has been targeted in a couple of instances by some who believe that Roblox isn’t good for children or exploits their labor.

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Today, McLaren Racing released the new virtual McLaren MCL36 race car to Formula 1 enthusiasts with access to the
McLaren F1 Racing Experience on Roblox.

The global digital reveal on Roblox is coordinated with the real-world reveal of the new McLaren MCL36 in which McLaren F1 drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo will compete for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

The occasion marks the first time a Formula 1 brand has unveiled a new car via an immersive, widely accessible metaverse experience. The McLaren F1 Racing Experience on Roblox, a global digital platform bringing millions of people together through shared experiences, enables fans to race a virtual MCL36 through some of the most popular Roblox experiences including Driving Simulator, Jailbreak, and Ultimate Driving.

Roblox has a McLaren showroom and racing games.

“Driving a Formula 1 car is an amazing feeling, so it’s awesome we’re able to give fans their own experience on Roblox,” said Lando Norris, McLaren F1 driver, in a statement. “Our car launch is one of the most exciting events of the year and this time our fans will have the chance to sit in it before me and Daniel have even driven it, which is pretty cool. I hope you all enjoy the ride in the metaverse, and keep an eye out for my avatar.”

Not all of these experiences are simple brand showrooms. In this case, the Roblox community can also explore the metaverse counterpart of the McLaren Technology Centre, take selfies with the MCL36, purchase exclusive F1 McLaren digital items, and gear up in avatar bundles of Norris and Ricciardo.

To recreate the McLaren MCL36 design, Roblox community developers from The Gang worked in secret with the McLaren Racing team.

“The Gang used the new Roblox ‘Future is Bright’ lighting technology to create highly realistic and dramatic lighting in the virtual McLarenTechnology Centre,” said Marcus Holmström, CEO of The Gang, in a statement. “We built a precise 3D model representation of the car and applied physically-based rendering technology to it. The result is a vividly realistic surface appearance.”

“We’re really proud of the creative ways brands are authentically coming onto the platform and connecting with our community,” said Christina Wootton, vice president of global brand partnerships at Roblox, in a statement. “McLaren is a shining example of how brands can push the boundaries and unveil their products to a global audience. This is the first Formula 1 brand to unveil their racer through an immersive experience that’s available to millions of people at once.”

Alo Yoga’s wellness experience

Alo Yoga’s wellness experience in Roblox.

And yesterday Alo Yoga, a fashion and lifestyle brand, launched inside Roblox a virtual Alo Sanctuary, an immersive wellness space for yoga and meditation. The experience coincided with Alo’s plans to open its real-life Wellness Sanctuary at Spring Studios during New York Fashion Week: The Shows.

That’s a clearly very different market than the McLaren crowd, and it shows that brands believe that Roblox is attracting a wider variety of consumers than it has in the past. (Most think of Roblox as a place for kids to play games with their friends).

NFT Tycoon

NFL Tycoon inside Roblox.

And the National Football League and Roblox, announced today the launch of NFL Tycoon to engage the next generation of NFL football fans in the “metaverse,” the partners said.

NFL’s Roblox experience will engage fans year-round in interactive NFL-themed gameplay while also providing a new virtual hangout destination with activations tied to league events. It is starting with the Super Bowl LVI on Sunday.

“We are beyond thrilled to partner with Roblox as we journey deeper into the Metaverse and continue to learn the value of interactive shared experiences for the NFL,” said Joe Ruggiero, senior vice president of consumer products at the NFL, in a statement. “We see Roblox as an extension of NFL’s real-life engagement platforms for emerging social connectivity where fans can learn the game and business side of NFL football. This is a new frontier of how fan engagement will evolve for the League, and we are excited to be a part of this dynamic space that will continuously evolve over time with new experiences.”

NFL Tycoon lets fans build, play, and learn in their own NFL-centered world through a combination of the popular tycoon and simulator genres on Roblox. Throughout the year, NFL Tycoon will host virtual live events and activations that coincide with the NFL calendar, starting with “Destruction House,” an interactive event inspired by the highly anticipated NFL Super Bowl LVI commercial.

Like many of the Roblox experiences, the NFL place is meant to bring players back over and over to new experiences.

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