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Language learning app Duolingo now speaks metaverse


By Audrey Kemp | LA reporter

June 29, 2022 | 3 min read

The language learning app’s persistent green owl will continue to nudge learners to take their lesson, but this time, in virtual reality.

virtual billboard of a push notification to take a language lesson

Duolingo's virtual billboard brings new meaning to "out of home" advertising / Duolingo

After its mascot achieved meme status, Duolingo has made its official foray into the metaverse. The popular app is encouraging game developers to create their own language learning content in blockchain-powered virtual world Decentraland and online gaming platform Roblox.

The brand noticed that Roblox players had created their own Duolingo-themed games and avatars in the emerging virtual space, its gameplay footage accruing millions of views on YouTube. In partnership with digital marketing firm MediaMonks, Duolingo responded by launching a game jam where developers can submit their games to be featured in its virtual space. So far, the brand has selected about two dozen developer-created games to be featured in Duolingo’s space.

The currency earned in-game can be used to buy virtual Duo-branded merch, including backpacks, hats, bodysuits and masks.

roblox's duolingo game shows an avatar running from its owl mascot, duo

Duolingo’s entrance into the metaverse follows a string of other rising edtech companies that have launched VR language immersion programs, such as ImmerseVR, MondlyVR and VirtualSpeech – although Duolingo represents the first to establish a presence on Roblox. The emerging virtual world may represent an $800 billion market opportunity within the next two years, according to a Bloomberg report.

“Traditionally, brands activating in the metaverse create their own environments or worlds for others to engage with,” Duolingo’s Creative Director Brand & Marketing James Kuczynski said in a statement. “However, in the case of Duolingo, a brand beloved by many including Roblox, we wanted to create an experience that gave fans the power to create something with our brand and beloved owl character, Duo, that they would enjoy and share with friends.”

In the case of Decentraland, the brand has placed a billboard that features the owl holding a push notification, which will remind users of the mobile app’s daily lesson reminder.

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