Walmart expanded its immersive shopping and metaverse ambitions for 2024, announcing a new partnership with the software development company Unity. The result will give developers working with Unity-based games and other 3D experiences the ability to integrate purchase options using Walmart’s commerce application programming interfaces.
Walmart and Unity’s SDK at CES 2024
The two companies announced the immersive shopping functionality ahead of CES 2024, where they will put the software development kit for working with Walmart’s APIs on display, Venture Beat reported. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is also scheduled to keynote at CES in Las Vegas on Jan. 9.
Walmart is No. 2 in the Top 1000, Digital Commerce 360’s database ranking of North America’s online retailers by web sales. The retailer is also No. 9 in the Global Online Marketplaces Database, Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of the top 100 online marketplaces by gross merchandise value.
What Walmart gains from the immersive shopping partnership
Working with Unity will make the APIs available to Unity’s developers. Unity sees 1.1 million developers use its editor each month, according to a press release. The company also claims to record 3.6 billion downloads of games and apps made with its editor each month.
“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, vice president and general manager for metaverse commerce at Store No. 8, which serves as Walmart’s startup 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.”
Games and experiences using Walmart’s commerce APIs
Multiple developers have already experimented with Walmart’s APIs using Unity, the companies noted. Examples include the mobile game House Flip, which was developed by fun-gi; Lockwood Publishing’s 3D life simulator Avakin Life; and Naver Z’s virtual-world social platform Zepeto.
“This announcement paves the way for new innovation in commerce for games and other virtual experiences,” said Marc Whitten, president at Create within 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.”
Walmart’s history in the metaverse
For Walmart, the Unity announcement builds off other immersive shopping and metaverse-related ventures in recent years. Those have included experiences in the Roblox platform, as well as exploring NFTs.
In 2023, Walmart announced its Walmart Discovered activation in Roblox for virtual item exchanges and transactions using Roblox’s Robux currency.
Walmart will begin accepting developer applications for its new Unity SDK through the Walmart.io website.
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