On Wednesday, Pacsun launched its second Roblox activation, in collaboration with metaverse developer The Gang. The building tycoon, the most popular format on Roblox, is the first ever to come from a fashion brand.
The launch signals a move for brands away from gaming launches centered on shopping, and instead into world-building. The Pacsun Los Angeles Tycoon experience allows gamers to build their own map of SoCal, including initial building opportunities in Downtown L.A., Santa Monica and Hollywood, with future expansions to come later this year.
“We aim to explore and activate right alongside the consumer,” said Brieane Olson, Pacsun co-CEO. “This translates to meeting consumers at the intersection of not only fashion, but also gaming, music, sports and art. As we continue to cater to a fully digital generation, we need to find new ways to connect with them in order to further our strong emotional resonance as a brand. The game world is one of these connections.”
Once each region is completed by a single user, a dedicated piece of a Pacsun store in the specific zone will be unlocked, representing a prize. Users then get access to the store and are then able to buy community-created merchandise.
“We have seen positive ROI, in terms of our continuously increasing engagement within Roblox,” said Tyler MacDonald, Pacsun senior manager of influencers and social media. “The brand’s involvement on Roblox provides another touchpoint and way of connecting directly to our target social audience and consumers. It also presents ample opportunity for positive digital exposure of the latest Pacsun launches.”
The game will also feature Easter eggs, a gaming feature that brings unique, branded visual features to a game and is found in popular video games like GTA V. These will come in the form of best-selling graphic tees available for purchase, as well as obstacle courses promoting the Los Angeles lifestyle. The latter includes a a Santee Alley-inspired obstacle course with the opportunity to track down celebrities to collect autographs.
“This experience is grounded by a build-and-collect tycoon game loop, and includes fun elements like street art, beach carnivals and movies, among other side quests and challenges,” said Evan Opperman, client director at metaverse Roblox developer The Gang.
Users can invite friends to engage with their designs in each city. Twenty of the featured digital fashion items available to purchase were inspired by Pacsun’s spring 2023 collection of physical apparel. A wearable accessory called “the aura,” featuring sun and water elements, is available to win. After completing an autograph-seeking quest in the Hollywood-inspired area of the map near the end of the game, users are awarded the Pacsun Aura.
Within the Santa Monica map, users can opt to drive around in style in a classic DMC Delorean, the car made famous by the “Back to the Future” film series. The brand collaborated with the car brand on the inclusion of the car in the game.
“We’re continuing to find ways to generate hype and energize the experience with key partners,” said Olson. “In addition, we’ve seen strong success in sales of our virtual clothing, launched seasonally on Roblox, as well as sales of our fantasy items, such as [a pair of] gold wings.” Although the brand declined to share exact sales, the wings have been favorited over 4,000 times in the Roblox avatar store.
Pacsun released its first Roblox launch, an interactive mall experience dubbed Pacworld, in April 2022. It expanded the mall in November 2022, ahead of the holidays. The game has had almost 9,000 visits since its launch, and MacDonald said the brand had a positive reaction to the first launch on Roblox, based on user feedback and engagement in the game. Last year, Pacsun reported $900 million in revenue, with earnings for 2022 coming out in the next month.
For brands, launching a game on Roblox is typically cheaper than launching an IRL collection, as there are overhead costs, according to Pacsun. Creating games is typically free for brands, but those working with studios like The Gang pay for creative input and additional features that are more complicated to create, like virtual fashion collections.
“It more so resembled the traditional, IRL Pacsun experience, focusing on curating the perfect mall, customizing shops and incorporating your own design aesthetic,” he said. “It was a great introduction to the platform and allowed us to engage with our community on a new level and build brand affinity by showing up in unexpected places. We’re excited to expand our Roblox presence and offerings to further promote creativity within our consumers.”
According to Winnie Burke, head of fashion and beauty partnerships on Roblox, “Expression and digital identity are a big part of our community’s interests on the platform. Roblox is also a place for connection and culture – people socialize, discuss and create trends together, remix and drive culture. The more brands address all of these aspects of the community’s interests and engage users while further enabling self-expression, connection and culture, the more authentic their presence on the platform will be.”