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Roblox to expand ads business, helping brands reach 52.2m players

Roblox's ad business

Your weekly briefing on the metaverse // 12 September 2022
It’s safe to say that the UK is going through one of the most unique national experiences in my lifetime. It is also safe to say that the LinkedIn professionals linking the Queen to business culture (working hard, devotion to role) should take a hard look at themselves.

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Roblox readies it ads, Niantic readies its Avengers

Roblox is expanding its ad business to help brands reach 52.2m daily active players.

  • Why now? The CEO remarked that the majority of users are now above 13 years old, and over half of US kids under 16 play it (!!!). The company now wants to offer advertisers targeted ways to reach its massive audience.
  • How does it work? The new ads system works across multiple experiences via interactive billboards. Portals can be added too, to bring people into their own worlds. The ads will only show to players who are 13 years or older, and experiences will be disclosed if they contain ads.
  • When is it out? Tests will run this year, with a full launch next year.
  • On the one hand, it makes sense for Roblox to improve its ads business, considering the diversity and scale of companies who are operating on the platform (Gucci, Spotify etc).
  • On the other, I am wary that the ads could be used to push questionable ads, as we have already seen these platforms be used in negative ways. Even if ads are seen by older players, many tend to bend the truth when submitting age information on account creation. Further, many creators are focused on the smaller share of revenue they receive for their work (about 30% of revenue from in-app purchases). Virtual worlds live and die on their players, and placating them is key.

Niantic is releasing a new AR game based on the Marvel franchise.

  • Marvel World of Heroes allows players to adopt superhero identities, and play with others in multiplayer experiences.
  • The news comes three months after Niantic’s staff cuts, as well as the company axeing four projects. I suspect the company is focusing on core projects that will likely generate revenue; an IP like Marvel has more brand power than Hamlet, a theatrical collaboration that was cancelled in June.

What do you think of Roblox’s movements? Join the discussion and meet like-minded professionals on the Immersive Wire Discord. 

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Other stories

Got stories? Do let me know at tom (at) immersivewire (dot) com. 

  • 1Spatial secured a $1.2m contract with the State of Arkansas, and $400k with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
  • AR Arts Summit is happening on 14 and 15 September.
  • Blippar has integrated Sketchfab into Blippbuilder.
  • Boson Protocol is partnering with Alterrage to create interoperable item collections.
  • The Canadian Consulate is hosting an event in New York, exploring women in tech and the metaverse.
  • CLO-Z is now offering its virtual try-on app for free (to start using).
  • EGX London will host the VR Game Spotlight on 22 September.
  • Emperia is working with Bloomingdale to create a virtual store, featuring exclusive collections from Polo Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, David Yurman, and others.
  • HTC announced the launch of facial and eye trackers for the Vive Focus 3.
  • ITV Studios partnered with Reality+ to create a Thunderbirds NFT collection.
    • I went to the launch event, and I have a mix of thoughts. NFT projects live and die on their long-term plans, and the team spent a chunk of the launch to detail how they will support the project over a longer timespan. The room was hyped, yes, but that was partially because a thrumming community of NFT fans came together (rather than, say, general members of the public). The Thunderbirds NFTs could indicate a different way to ally with its fans – though I am interested to see the average ‘hold’ time that the NFTs will have post-launch.
  • Landian Metaverse sold out 719,000 lots of land, and minted over 380,000 NFT’s in four days.
    • Huge numbers, though I am still keeping a cautious eye on NFTs and land; it’s a shaky area with dips and troughs. Though I am skeptical, it is clear that interest on these platforms is sky-high, and it warrants further attention.
  • The Museum of Science Fiction received a grant from BAE Systems, to design a VR tour inside of a quantum computer.
  • Somnium Space collaborated with TESLASUIT to make the world’s first MR fashion show.

Looking for assistance

Want to receive help from readers of the Immersive Wire? Send an email with ‘looking for assistance’ in the subject line to tom (at) immersivewire (dot) com.

  • Sophia Moshasha is looking for news, articles, studies, white papers, use cases and Quest or mobile-enabled demos for disaster preparedness and medical training, to showcase the value of XR to policy makers. Message her for more details.

What you need for good scans

Yasuo Baba, Director of Sony Digital Imaging Europe

What is your background?

Photography is my passion, and I am honoured to have photographed major sporting events including the World Cup, the Olympics and Formula 1. Photographing, the legend, Bill Gates remains one of the proudest moments in my photography career.

I was appointed as Director of Digital Imaging at Sony Digital Imaging Business Solutions in 2018 and it is my aim is to establish Sony as the photographic brand of choice among professionals. I hold over 20 years of experience in the digital imaging industry, having been appointed as Head of Professional Business at Nikon in 2003, where I developed systems and solutions for news agencies, publishing houses and professional photographers. From here, I went on to become responsible for Nikon’s Central European business and education departments.

What are you working on, and what’s a key learning that you’ve had from it? 

As the metaverse and VR become more pervasive, in business as well as entertainment, the requirement for capturing high-quality images upon which photorealistic digital twins can be based is increasing.

Digital twins are the collision point between the virtual world and reality, to make the transition between these worlds more seamless we need to create objects, people and places in the metaverse which are photorealistic replicas of the real thing.

The data processing technology required to run a life-like replica of the world is still a way off but when it comes to capturing scans and images to inform the virtual world, photography is ready and waiting.

The metaverse is effectively the internet in 3D, and through photogrammetry using maximum resolution cameras and rapid capture rate, producing realistic 3D digital scans of real people, objects and places is a fast, effective way to place real world assets into the realm of the digital.

NFTs are one clear example where photogrammetry and the creation of digital replicas is adding huge value to the web3 space. People paying for a digital replica of an artefact, a piece of precious memorabilia or a designer accessory should be able to own that digital asset in all its real-life glory. Photogrammetry and high-quality 3D scanning is how we are making that a reality.

If you had to give one piece of advice, what would you give? 

In relation to photogrammetry, the key to precise and fast 3D scanning is the combination of raw processing power and a camera set-up that offers maximum resolution and rapid capture rate. However, another critical element is required to bring the two together.

If 3D scanning teams want to take their photogrammetry to the next level and into the metaverse, they need a Software Development Kit (SDK) to automate processes, reduce time, trigger various sequences and scenarios to ensure cameras, lights, and processing are working as one.

If you want to know more about Yasuo Baba, please click here to find out more.

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Meditative with the VIVE Flow. Photo credit: Tom Ffiske

Tom Ffiske

Editor, Immersive Wire

Tom Ffiske is the Editor of the Immersive Wire, a twice-weekly newsletter on the immersive industry.