We toured Gucci Town, a branded Roblox world – here’s our review
Gucci is no stranger to the metaverse. Along with other luxury brands including Burberry, it has been a trailblazer for the creation of virtual assets that players fawn over in the burgeoning web3 economy. It previously launched an interactive art and fashion-inspired virtual world – the Gucci Garden – on Roblox in May 2021, and it has expanded its offering with Gucci Town. We visited this digital space.
Following brands including Nike with Nikeland, the creative features a raft of virtual clothing that users can earn and buy for real money, in addition to a number of games and activities designed to draw in audiences.
Gucci is deepening its investment in metaverse spaces
The Gucci Vault
As the launch page makes clear, a big part of Gucci Town is its ability to bring the fashion brand’s history to life. Using virtual assets and recreations of examples of its most famous handbags and other paraphernalia, players can approach the item to learn about its history – and how it helped Gucci to grow.
Perhaps most importantly for the fashion brand and the metaverse platform, those high-quality recreations are likely to create a desire among players to own those items, even if only virtually. This brings us to...
As with Nikeland before it, the commercial benefit of the execution is that it allows users to pay for the privilege of owning a virtual item. With interoperability still a far-flung possibility for the metaverse, for the moment those items are only accessible to users of the Roblox platform specifically.
Where Gucci Town has a key point of differentiation in this space is in its approach to creating artificial scarcity. Some purchases can only be made once the user has unlocked the right to buy it through partaking in activities in other areas of Gucci Town. For instance, the launch page states: “The first collection of items in the Gucci Shop will be available until June 17 2022, with a new limited Gucci Blondie bag released each week. Come back regularly to unlock and purchase the bag.”
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In addition to the Vault, Gucci Town features a gallery section that lets users’ avatars pose ‘with’ models in fashion shoots. The idea is that users will then share those images, attracting more people on to the platform.
However, the limitations of the platform become apparent: without direct access to a user’s social channels, the nature of screenshotting and sharing those images is interruptive. The limitations of metaverse platforms will be something brands need to consider as they put more money into metaverse marketing.
Roblox is first and foremost a gaming platform. To that end, one of the focal points of Gucci Town is its minigames portal. From here, users can compete against one another in a variety of simple minigames – from races to survival challenges – in order to earn the right to purchase items in the shop.
It is a fantastic approach to gamification – because it brings back the scarcity to unlocking those items in a way that the metaverse initially sought to avoid. Luxury brands such as Gucci need to retain their aspirational nature in the metaverse, and are using player skill and tenacity as a replacement for cold hard cash.
Finally, the growth of the metaverse depends upon the communities that pop up within it. Gucci is attempting to turn this execution into something of a community hub, with a variety of areas designed specifically for users to go to chat to one another. Its dedicated ‘power-up place’ is a little sparse for now, but if the brand can create a space that its fans are happy to return to, that increases the revenue-generating potential of the creative as a whole.