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Walmart expands metaverse commerce with developer APIs

Walmart and Unity logos
Walmart is teaming up with Unity.

Walmart Inc. is partnering with a platform for developing real-time 3D content to offer immersive shopping opportunities.

The discount giant will provide developers in the Unity real-time 3D development environment the ability to integrate its commerce application programming interfaces (APIs) directly into their games and apps. This will enable Unity creators to sell physical items in real-time 3D experiences across more than 20 metaverse platforms.

Walmart, which initially debuted in the metaverse by launching two new metaverse experiences on the popular Roblox immersive gaming platform in September 2022, announced in September 2023 that it would deepen its commercial activity in “virtual worlds.” 

Over the past year, Walmart has tested immersive commerce in a variety of online worlds, including the Supercampus gamified Roblox environment. Three of these experiences were made with Unity and integrate Walmart commerce APIs:

  • House Flip, developed by fun-gi: Players of this mobile game, which allows them to renovate, decorate and sell virtual homes, can purchase the real-life counterparts of items they use in the game. 
  • Avakin Life, developed by Lockwood Publishing: Walmart gave players the ability to purchase virtual twins of their latest apparel or receive the virtual item free with the purchase of the physical item. Walmart also released its first virtual clothing line, CoreMood Collective, into this virtual world.
  • Zepeto, Naver Z's flagship platform: Walmart has launched both its Scoop and virtual-first CoreMood Collective brands in this 3D avatar-based social platform by contextually integrating them into social spaces in Zepeto. Walmart and Zepeto are currently working on integrating immersive commerce capabilities into select spaces on the platform for future brand integrations.

According to Unity, more than 1.1 million developers use the Unity editor monthly, supporting an average of 3.6 billion downloads each month of Unity-developed apps worldwide.

"We have an opportunity to connect the physical and digital realms in a way that only Walmart can, meeting our customers and members with authentic experiences where they already are," said Tom Kang, VP and GM, metaverse commerce, Walmart's Store No. 8 tech incubator. "By opening up Walmart’s commerce APIs to the Unity development community, we’re empowering developers to offer a new mechanism to further drive user engagement while making it easy and convenient for players to complete a transaction for physical products without leaving the game, virtual world or app."

"This announcement paves the way for new innovation in commerce for games and other virtual experiences," said Marc Whitten, president, create, Unity. "We’re excited to be able to give Unity developers the option of another new revenue stream while keeping players within their games and experiences."

Headquartered in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart Inc. operates approximately 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites in 19 countries.

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