velera How Credit Union Innovation Can Drive Gen Z Engagement May 2024 Banner

Walmart Debuts ‘Immersive’ Commerce Offering in 3D Games

Walmart launched an “immersive commerce” partnership with 3D technology firm Unity.

The collaboration lets Unity developers integrate Walmart’s commerce application programming interfaces (APIs) directly into their games and apps, which in turn lets creators sell physical items in real-time 3D (RT3D) across more than 20 platforms, according to a Thursday (Jan. 4) press release.

The partnership unlocks new ways for developers and creators “to connect customers’ virtual and physical lifestyles and [establish] new monetization channels in games and experiences,” the release said, combining Walmart’s retail footprint with the 1.1 million developer Unity community.

“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, general manager for metaverse commerce at Walmart, in the release. “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.”

Walmart has spent the last year testing commerce in online worlds, with three of these experiences made with Unity and integrating the retailer’s commerce APIs.

For example, the mobile game House Flip — which lets players renovate, decorate and sell virtual real estate properties — allows players to buy real-life versions of items used in the game, such as house paint and home decor items.

“By keeping players in their games, creators can maintain their immersive experiences, extending session engagement,” the release said. “Creators will also be able to increase their monetization capabilities by receiving affiliate commissions from certain physical purchases powered by Walmart.”

The partnership is the latest example of Walmart combining entertainment with commerce. The company last month teamed with TikTok and Roku to introduce a shoppable web series, a holiday-themed romantic comedy that let viewers purchase the products featured on screen.

The retailer has also worked with streaming platform Peacock to let fans of the reality TV series “Below Deck Mediterranean” buy products inspired by the show while watching “shoppable episodes.”

PYMNTS Intelligence found in November that “seven in 10 shoppers [admitted] that ads, influencers and media broadly influenced their purchasing decisions” on Black Friday.

For all PYMNTS retail coverage, subscribe to the daily Retail Newsletter.