Roblox and Walmart are now selling real-world items in-game to anyone over the age of 13: 'It's very safe'

A bird, a cat, and a dog all sitting on a shelf in Walmart in Roblox
(Image credit: Roblox Corporation)

Walmart and Roblox have teamed up to provide a service I didn't know anyone needed: letting anyone over the age of 13 browse and buy goods from Walmart via Roblox, which amounts to an Inception-style headache. 

There was already a way to walk through a virtual retail shop via Roblox's Walmart Discovered: a game that lets players discover new Roblox games, buy emotes, customize their very own Walmart cart, and show off their favourite items. It was made by Walmart in a crossover event with Roblox. But now it's not just limited to immaterial purchases, as players located in the US who are 13 years and older can now actually order real-world items to their door (via Digiday). 

“There is a traditional sort of checkout flow where you put your name, your address, and your credit card information, and that’s all powered by a Walmart API that handles all of the information super securely—it’s very safe,” the director of brand experiences and strategic partnerships Justin Breton says in a press release. “And once you hit checkout, you’ll get your confirmation email from Walmart. All of that is handled by us on the backend, the user will then get their item in the mail, but the virtual twin is granted immediately back on Roblox."

At the moment, this is just limited to a pilot test, which will be taking place throughout May. For now, Roblox will also not receive any money from sales as it will be more of a test of players' willingness to purchase items off the gaming platform rather than acting as an actual revenue source. 

The limited scale of this test also means that Walmart will only be selling three items. These are Roblox-themed versions of Walmart products, which three Roblox creators (Sarabxlla, MD17_RBLX, and Junozy) made: the No Boundaries festival hobo bag, a TAL stainless steel tumbler, and Onn wireless headphones. But if all goes well during the May test, Walmart won't just keep the storefront going but will also look into selling more items via Roblox. 

"Shopping for virtual items is already an important element of how people engage and express themselves on Roblox daily, so our goal is to gather feedback, test the technology, and learn what resonates with Gen Z customers the most when it comes to shopping for physical items," Roblox vice president of economy Enrico D'Angelo says. 

Is it particularly ethical for a major business to drop something that just seems to glorify consumerism to a very young user base while making a game out of purchasing items from its store? Probably not. And while it does feel oddly queasy to shove online shopping masked as an innocent game into the faces of countless children, it's still in a pilot test phase, so who knows what it ends up looking like. 

News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.