The MTV Video Music Awards is opening a virtual experience on the Roblox Corp. gaming platform.
The temporary installation is a companion to a new category that MTV has added to the awards show this year to recognize the best musical performance in the metaverse.
The metaverse is a term used to describe virtual worlds in which people can use digital avatars to work, shop and play. Brands including Wendy’s Co. , Chipotle Mexican Grill and Forever21 have experimented with various digital worlds as they try to understand the marketing potential of the metaverse, creating restaurants, stores and experiences for users to visit and play inside. Musical acts including BTS, Charli XCX and Travis Scott have also staged concerts on virtual platforms such as Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox.
MTV, which is part of Paramount Media Networks, created the VMA experience on Roblox to reach younger viewers and to learn about the platform, executives said. Roblox is a popular gaming platform for children. MTV Entertainment Studios has previously created a metaverse experience on Minecraft.
“One of the most exciting things about it is that it brings the VMA experience to people wherever they are in the world,” said Amy Campbell, chief marketing officer of Paramount Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios.
The VMA Experience will include three games, starting with one on Aug. 12 and adding a new one each Friday until the award show on Aug. 28. Players can stock up on chances to vote for the best metaverse performance by collecting MTV-logo tokens throughout the experience and by playing the games.
MTV’s VMA Experience was created with Super League Gaming Inc., a game publisher that has previously designed games for MTV and other Paramount properties.
“This is for that slightly older Roblox gamer who’s starting to identify heavily with music, and is really about to enter that entry point of becoming an MTV viewer,” said Ann Hand, chief executive and chair of Super League Gaming.
Super League and MTV will promote the Roblox experience using social media, influencers who will share their gameplay and other Roblox games via virtual billboards that can transport the user to the VMA experience.
MTV’s push into the metaverse with an award-show category and Roblox experience will encourage the music industry to create more virtual experiences, some metaverse specialists say.
“The fact that music is going fluidly into this space now means that culture will follow fairly closely behind,” said Lewis Smithingham, senior vice president of innovation at Media.Monks, a marketing services company owned by S4Capital.