Roblox announces plans for ‘immersive ads’ and a marketplace with ‘scarcity’

So like NFTs but not quite, probably

    
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The beginning of September saw Roblox hold its own developers conference, which outlined several planned features and updates to the way players can play “experiences” in the game and how creators can make said “experiences” with new tools… and a couple of features that are probably not going to delight many people.

Some of the updated tools that are in the works include facial animation tech that changes avatar faces based on preferences or emote use, facial capture technology to let avatar faces animate in real time, and the option for players to connect cellphone contacts to the game. For creators, there’s also work on a mocap feature that lets players use their own camera to map physical movements to avatars, a refined Studio UI, and new tech to let creators make larger worlds.

The tail end of the conference round-up also addresses the game’s economy and creators’ ability to earn money from their creations, which is where its aspirations take concerning turns. The post talks up the introduction of immersive ads – separate mini-locations that let “brands and developers alike […] build never-before-seen ad experiences” – and a marketplace that will “introduce new mechanics for our community to build sustainable businesses, including giving creators full control over the scarcity of their items and allowing all users to resell or trade items.”

The immersive ads feature will reportedly be clearly labeled as an ad – a possible direct response to a watchdog group’s filing with the FTC over what it saw as exploitative advertising practices – while the marketplace feature doesn’t expressly mention blockchain or NFTs but reads very similarly to at least the idea of them, only integrated with the game’s Robux monetary ecosystem. Time will tell whether this heralds Roblox’s ultimate plunge into blockchain or not.

On the subject of ads – or at least collaborations with brands – Roblox is housing a Polly Pocket-themed plaza between now and October 14th and will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Barbie Dreamhouse playset with an interactive version full of activities available between September 30th and October 28th.

sources: official site via GamesIndustry.biz, press release
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