Cape Town launches Metaverse via Roblox campaign

The Mother City’s tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, Wesgro, has become one of the first organisations of its kind in the world to launch a virtual presence on the Roblox platform.

Roblox claims to have 54.1 millions daily active users. Roblox Studio, the game platform that allows users to create their own games, is especially popular with children.

Roblox was chosen by Wesgro to capitalize on the youth’s influence when it comes family holidays. Its marketing effort will see a series of educational, nature-themed games starring some of the Western Cape’s best loved destinations brought to life in a gamified way.

Starting with a “Climb Table Mountain” experience, it will feature child-friendly destinations, while emphasising the unique diversity of the natural spaces of Cape Town. Wesgro believes that the city, as Africa’s tech capital, should be digitised for all to enjoy.

A recent study by Expedia shows that the world’s youngest generation is strongly influencing family travel, with up to 87% of parents giving their children a say in family vacation planning. A third of US millennial parents give their children complete control over final holiday decisions.

As children of millennials, “Generation Alpha” – or those born after 2010 – are completely digitally native, and tech-enabled from a young age. Roblox is a clever company that captures this market through immersive gaming experiences.

“The world is changing, and we’re ready to meet that change,” says Wrenelle Stander, the chief executive of Wesgro.

“With immersive digital experiences already creating a captive audience, our game will allow kids to learn about the incredible biodiversity of the province. Learn about the King Protea national flower and more than 1 460 other species of plants. 300 of these are very endangered. On the fauna side, special attention will be given to species such as the Leopard Frog and tortoise, dassies and the elusive Cape fox.”

Pioneering digital marketing and putting the Western Cape firmly on the digital “map” through innovative platforms, Wesgro hopes to engage and inspire this audience to ultimately lead their parents to choose the Western Cape as their next holiday destination.

Aimed at both the local and international markets, the first game will see players “experiencing” a hike up Table Mountain. Gamers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in this World Heritage Site’s beauty, including its breathtaking nature scenes. The educational content will also be heavily featured.

Roblox allows you to discover diverse natural spaces

The game will start with Cape Town’s Table Mountain Climb and then will move into the Western Cape, as the team is already hard at work on iterations that include exploring the beaches and kelp forests of the Garden Route as well as camping and stargazing in the Cederberg.

Wesgro’s chief marketing and communications officer, Jean Scheltema says, “Edtech and gaming are more entwined now than ever before. We’re building assets for audiences of the future, turning to the popular Roblox platform as first port of call to let kids experience the diverse natural spaces of the Western Cape.

“Globally, we’re seeing the move to an internet that’s less flat. We intend to make the metaverse an immersive, 3D online learning space that is accessible to large audiences and to find new ways to link the physical world to the online. Gaming is a great way to tell the rich, biodiverse story of Cape Town to tweens and younger teens, sparking curiosity and consideration.”

To ensure scientific accuracy and facts, developers have collaborated closely with a well-respected local botanist. Renowned Cape Town conservationist Alex Landsdowne concludes, “Cape Town is one of the most biodiverse cities in the world. It is also the largest city in the unique Cape Floristic Kingdom. Therefore, it’s fantastic that the world gets to experience our unique flora and fauna through this innovative game.”

Wesgro will lead the uptake locally using gaming and tech influencers such as Kairo Forbes with over a million followers and Grant Hinds, who is a Twitch streamer, and a YouTuber. The game will debut in the United States later this summer.

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