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03/31/2022

Pacsun lets customers open metaverse shops on popular gaming platform

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Pacsun is taking a big step in metaverse retailing.

A specialty teen apparel retailer is expanding its presence on the Roblox digital gaming platform in a big way.

Pacsun is opening a fantasy interactive mall experience on Roblox, called Pacworld. Working with existing game development studio partner Melon, Pacsun will extend its existing catalogs of virtual items on Roblox, first launched in June 2021, by letting customers sell its virtual goods in customized digital malls.

Within this new social and shopping metaverse environment (where consumers use augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology to digitally engage with each other and their surroundings, with crossovers into the physical world), customers can virtually become the owner and operators of a new mall, and it is their objective to make the mall as profitable and popular as possible. Customers will be able to create and remove shops, upgrade the shops that do well, decorate the mall to try and attract more customers, and invite their friends to visit their mall.

Pacsun shoppers will be able to customize their malls with flair and aesthetics that can be purchased with their virtual “Robux” income they earn in-experience. The starting point is a sunny beach island reminiscent of Pacsun’s Southern California headquarters location, where players can choose a plot for their personalized mall that they can then build their stores onto.

Shops are the primary aspect of the game, and each shop will generate its own virtual income to add to the player’s overall virtual income earned in-experience. As a mall’s popularity increases and is visited by more shoppers, players can upgrade their mall by adding new shops and restaurants, along with decorations such as plants, furniture and murals.

Pacworld is somewhat reminiscent of Nikeland, a virtual environment global athletic brand Nike launched on Roblox in November 2021. Nikeland includes virtual buildings and fields, as well as detailed arenas where Roblox players compete in various mini-games. With the Nikeland tool kit, users can design their own mini-games from interactive sports materials, and a digital showroom enables customers to outfit their Nikeland avatar with special Nike virtual products.

Other companies, including Obsess and TerraZero Technologies, have also opened or are planning to open shopping centers in the metaverse. Pacsun is taking the interesting step of letting customers build malls and sell goods within its branded virtual environment. The company has not specified if or how virtual profits will be split with consumers.

Pacworld allows up to six players to build malls next to each other, while the Roblox platform enables players to go to any server to visit a mall. Pacworld is available now on Roblox, with virtual goods to be revealed in April 2022.

“Innovation and creativity are at the heart of Pacsun’s brand voice, and we view our audience as the cultural pioneers of the future. As we are catering to a fully digital generation, we recognize that Gen Z values community and accessibility more than any other generation, and we joined Roblox to further build that connectivity with our consumers,” said Brie Olson, president of Pacsun. “Considering that they leverage Roblox as a point of socialization, we knew that in order to further our strong emotional resonance as a brand, we needed to continue to build alongside them in the gaming world.”

“Though it is important for us to follow our customers through digital touchpoints, we do understand that in store shopping is still relevant,” said Alfred Chang, co-CEO of Pacsun. “Through Pacworld, we give players and consumers the reins to create their space and build it from the ground up. It combines fantasy with the traditional in-store feel, through a digital lens in a highly interactive way.”