Why a top Fortnite Creative studio sees opportunity in Roblox
For the moment, Roblox is still brands’ most effective entry point to the metaverse — and the leading Fortnite studio Atlas Creative has taken note, today announcing a strategic expansion into Roblox.
To lead its foray into Roblox, Atlas Creative has hired Alex Graham-Watson as its director of Roblox strategy. The move highlights the central role of Roblox in the metaversal brand ecosystem — and shows how brands are increasingly looking to activate across multiple platforms to reach consumers inside virtual space.
“We have had plenty of our partners ask about Roblox, we’ve had people ask about Minecraft. Even Zepeto is a big conversation starter at this point,” said Atlas Creative CEO Michael Herriger. “We just figured Roblox is one of the best spots for brands to go at this point.”
Herriger said that he anticipates more Fortnite studios to jump into Roblox in 2024, and it’s pretty clear why they would be interested. They’re simply following the money. Despite Epic Games’ efforts to make Fortnite and Unreal Engine more accessible to brands, Roblox still has a far more developed brand ecosystem than competing platforms in the metaverse space. Roblox users are more accustomed to spending time inside branded worlds, and the company has formed initiatives such as the Partner Program to welcome brands and marketers in.
Atlas Creative’s new Roblox division will be led by Graham-Watson, who previously served as a partnerships lead for the Roblox studio Supersocial. Much like Atlas Creative already does with brands such as iHeartRadio, Axe Body Spray and the NBA inside Fortnite, it will start pitching brands to help build their immersive worlds and one-off activations inside Roblox, widening the company’s potential client pool.
“I don’t think Fortnite is designed right now to be able to create successful brand activations in the same way as you can do in Roblox. The way discovery works right now, and the audience that is on Fortnite right now — it’s just not set up to be able to create successful activations,” said Margot Rodde, founder of the Fortnite Creative studio Creators Corp. “So I’m not surprised that a group like Atlas is trying to expand in Roblox, because I think that’s the only way for them to scale their business.”
For Atlas Creative, expanding into Roblox is not solely a play to scale up. The company believes there are concrete benefits that will come with having a hand in multiple metaverse platforms, including the ability to help brands simultaneously activate across multiple virtual worlds in a cohesive way.
“As Fortnite thinks about aging down and Roblox thinks about aging up, I’d love to see a scenario in which there’s an experience and a map that kind of live at the same time on both platforms,” Graham-Watson said. “That’s really what sets us apart from a few of the other studios — that we can look a little bit more holistically about how you want to these different audiences across Roblox and Fortnite.”
If Epic Games truly wants to convince more marketers to spend inside the Fortnite ecosystem, it is imperative for the company to maintain a vibrant brand ecosystem, replete with the studios that work with brands to design their virtual spaces.
Herriger highlighted Roblox’s Partner Program as another area of interest in Atlas Creative’s expansion into Roblox; so far, Epic Games does not have its own corresponding program, making it a more potentially confusing landscape for companies like Atlas to explore.
“Brand activations are essentially the agency model; it’s not really scalable the way it’s done in Fortnite,” Rodde said. “It’s scalable in Roblox, because of the way Roblox is set up, with the ability to build digital assets and sell them.”
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