A Brand Guide to Choosing Roblox vs. Fortnite vs. Private ‘Verse’

Alan Smithson
9 min readMar 7, 2024
Brand Guide to Roblox vs. Fortnite vs. Private ‘Verse’

In the dynamic landscape of digital marketing, brands are constantly seeking innovative ways to engage with their audiences. The evolution of the metaverse concept has opened new possibilities for brand immersion and interaction, with platforms like Roblox and Fortnite leading the way. With over 3.4 billion gamers in the world, it is not hard to understand why brands need to consider building their virtual home base.

However, the decision to build on existing platforms or create a private ‘verse’ instead of publishing to an existing platform involves careful consideration of various factors. It is important to remember who your target audience is? How will they find you? What can you build to excite and immerse them?

Here we will explore the key elements brands must evaluate when making the critical decision on where to build your first virtual presence.

Comparison between Fortnite vs. Roblox vs. Private ‘Verse’

Number of Users:

When it comes to user reach, both Roblox and Fortnite boast massive player bases. Roblox, with over 70 million daily active users (DAUs) as of 2022, is a thriving platform with a diverse audience, particularly popular among younger demographics. With over 3 million developers and 5.5 million experiences, it can be near impossible for a smaller brand to found amongst the noise. As of very recently, brands no longer have to build their own experience in Roblox in order to advertise on the platform.

Fortnite, developed by Epic Games, has over 500 million registered users, offering a broader user base with a significant presence across different age groups, but mostly male.

Building your own ‘Verse’ will require you to drive your own traffic from various sources based on your target demographic. You will start with few users, but everyone you gain will be a direct relationship between the brand and customer. Recently H&M won and award for UX for their ‘Verse’. and Mars-Wrigley won best digital brand experience for their Starburst Juicyverse.

“The metaverse is not something that a business creates. It represents the next phase of the Internet as a whole.” — Meta, Mark Zuckerberg

Saudi Arabia private ‘Verse’

The government of Saudi Arabia recently released their own ‘Verse’ to celebrate the rich history of the country. You can try it here: https://cup.moc.gov.sa/Game/index.html

Target Demographic:

Understanding the target demographic is crucial for effective brand communication.

Roblox is dominated by young users. 60% of users are under the age of 16. Only 17% of Roblox’s users are over 25 years old. The brands that have partnered with Roblox the most tend to be large retailers and shoe companies. Here is a great article on ‘Understanding Roblox Demographics’

62.7% of the Fortnite players are from the age group of 18 to 24. Fortnite 90% of Fortnite players are male. The brands that have partnered with Fortnite the most tend to be media conglomerates. The full list of Fortnite collaborations can be found here.

If you build your own ‘Verse’, you can set your target market and if that includes the Roblox/Fortnite crowd, taking ads against these in search and in app ads can help drive targeted traffic to you. There have been myriad examples of brands building their own and these range from fashion to

Snoop Dogg talking about Web3 & the metaverse — Image: Midjourney

Community:

The strength of the community within a platform significantly impacts a brand’s ability to connect with its audience. Both Roblox and Fortnite have vibrant and engaged communities, each with its unique characteristics.

Roblox’s community is characterized by user-generated content and collaboration, fostering a sense of creativity and shared experiences.

Fortnite, with its emphasis on first-person-shooter (FPS) games, in-game events and collaborations with popular franchises, cultivates a sense of shared participation among its players.

Brands aspiring to build their own identity and community can begin by using community managers within their ‘Verse’ to welcome new guests to the space and answer questions. In time, this may be supplanted by AI-driven avatars. Having a dedicated, persistent virtual world for your customers to engage with your team and content and share this experience with their friends will lead to better engagement and higher conversion.

Cost to Develop:

The cost of development is a critical consideration for brands looking to establish a digital presence in the metaverse. Building on existing platforms generally involves lower upfront costs compared to creating a private ‘verse’ from scratch. Platforms such as METAVRSE, Spatial, TheMall and Obsess offer turnkey solutions for brands to build their own persistent part of the metaverse. This approach provides full control over the environment and multiple budgets make it financially viable for all brands.

Roblox offers a user-friendly development environment, allowing brands to create experiences using its proprietary game development tools.

Unreal Engine for Fortnite provides a more robust and versatile development platform but may require a higher initial investment.

Fortnite x Lego collaboration

Time to Deploy:

Time is often a critical factor in marketing strategy, and the speed of deployment can significantly impact a brand’s competitive edge. New low-code tools are making it easier and faster than ever to build and deploy robust virtual experiences.

In contrast, building a private ‘verse’ requires careful planning and a more extended development timeline.

Ecommerce Capable:

The integration of eCommerce capabilities within the metaverse is increasingly becoming a powerful tool for brands. Both Roblox (Robux) and Fortnite (vBucks) offer opportunities for in-game purchases, but fail to allow any outside eCommerce preventing brands from selling goods in the real world.

The creation of a custom ‘Verse’ tailored to the brand’s specifications allows for full eCommerce; physical and/or digital paid for in fiat and/or cryptocurrency.

Web3D Enabled:

Roblox is toying with the idea of offering closed NFT’s for sale in-game to be used for charitable causes. Currently they do not support Web3 or NFTs.

Fortnite has not yet supported Web3, crypto or NFT’s, but they did collab with Nike/.swoosh/RTFKT, but stopped short of offering NFT’s.

The concept of Web3D integration in the metaverse is gaining momentum, promising enhanced social interactivity allowing users to experience more immersive and interconnected virtual worlds. For brands looking to embrace the future of the metaverse, choosing a platform that actively supports and integrates Web3D technologies is crucial. In 2023, Mars-Wrigley won a Digital Brand Award for their pioneering work combining Web3 and the metaverse,.The Starburst Juicyverse will be finding a permanent home on the second floor of TheMall in 2024.

Mars-Wrigley / Starburst Juicyverse. Built by METAVRSE

Privacy:

Privacy considerations are paramount in the digital age, and brands must carefully evaluate the privacy features of any metaverse platform.

Both Roblox and Fortnite prioritize user safety and privacy, implementing measures to ensure a secure virtual environment.

Developing a private ‘verse’ offers brands the ability to tailor privacy measures to their specific requirements. This customization ensures that privacy concerns are addressed in alignment with the brand’s values and legal obligations.

Data Ownership:

The ownership and handling of user data are critical considerations for brands entering the metaverse. Collecting user data to enhance the gaming experience is essential, but data ownership and usage policies differ by platform. Fortnite and Roblox have different privacy policies. Brands must carefully review the data ownership and usage policies of each platform, considering their specific requirements and legal obligations.

Building a private ‘verse’ grants brands complete control over data ownership and usage. This also opens the opportunity for users to selectively monetize their personal data — via platform marketplace — to market researchers, advertisers, etc. self sovereign data as well as identity

Customer Relationship:

Establishing a strong customer relationship within the metaverse is essential for brand success.

Roblox focuses on user-generated content (UGC), provides a collaborative environment where brands can engage directly with their audience. The Roblox “State of the Union” has a great amount of detail on their new initiatives, tools and metrics.

Fortnite, through in-game events and collaborations, offers immersive experiences that strengthen the bond between players and brands.

Building a private ‘verse’ allows brands to craft a unique and tailored customer relationship strategy.

Sample of brands in each metaverse

Token for Purchase:

The integration of virtual currencies or tokens for in-game purchases is a common feature in metaverse platforms. Both Roblox and Fortnite use their respective virtual currencies (Robux and V-Bucks) for transactions within their ecosystems.

Brands considering a private ‘verse’ can design their own virtual currency or tokens, offering a unique and branded approach to loyalty.

Number of Games/Experiences:

The diversity and quantity of games and experiences available within a metaverse platform contribute to its overall appeal.

Roblox, with its vast library of user-generated content (over 40 million games), offers a wide array of games and experiences across genres. This may mean increased competition for user attention within the platform’s existing ecosystem.

Fortnite, while primarily known for its battle royale mode, continually introduces new in-game events and collaborations.

Creating a private ‘verse’ allows brands to curate a bespoke selection of games and experiences, aligning with their brand identity and marketing goals. This approach provides greater control over the quality and thematic coherence of the content, ensuring a consistent brand experience for users.

Monetization:

Both Roblox and Fortnite offer creators monetization opportunities selling assets, games, etc. Roblox takes the largest fee at up to 90% whereas Fortnite takes up to 60%.

Roblox: “The marketplace fee is a percentage of revenue that is taken out of all items that are sold for Robux on Roblox. This fee helps support the Roblox economy by keeping the supply of Robux consistent, reducing inflation. The fee for normal members was ~90%, as opposed to ~30% for Roblox Premium users.”

Fortnite: “Epic places 40% of the net revenue from Fortnite’s Item Shop and related real-money purchases into the engagement pool. Engagement payouts will be made monthly from this pool to the publishers of all eligible islands, including independent creators’ islands, and Epic’s own islands like Battle Royale.”

In contrast, a private ‘verse’ could offer creators different options based on the needs of the brands and creators. Spatial.io, for example takes between 50–60% from their creators using a ‘coin’ system.

Conclusion:

The decision for brands to build their metaverse presence on existing platforms like Roblox or Fortnite versus creating a private ‘Verse’ involves a nuanced evaluation of various factors. If you are a large Fortune 500 brand with a global market and are looking to attract the attention of younger, gaming audiences, and you have a lot of money to throw against advertising in order to be found, Roblox and Fortnite offer an incredible solution. You can buy a full case studies on Hello Kitty in Roblox and Vans World in Roblox.

If you are a medium to large business, perhaps a private ‘Verse’ might be the best avenue for connecting with your community. The ability to offer Web3 features for loyalty and not give up your private data to third parties is something that should also be considered carefully when deciding where to build your virtual brand experience.

Ultimately, the choice between Roblox, Fortnite, or a private ‘Verse’ hinges on the specific goals, target audience, and strategic vision of each brand. — Alan Smithson

By carefully considering the factors outlined in this essay, brands can navigate the evolving landscape of the metaverse and make informed decisions that align with their marketing objectives and long-term brand identity.

OH, And one more thing…

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About me:

My life’s purpose is to inspire and educate people to think and act in a socially, economically and environmentally responsible way. (Unlimited Awesome)

I help make creator tools and experiences: Emulator , METAVRSE, Your Director AI, Meetopia and TheMall. I have a blog that looks at the possible negative outcomes of AI technology (AIvsHumans.ai).

I was a DJ for more than 20 years performing for millions of people winning DJ Mag’s Innovative Product of the Year in 2011. I was Named one of the 50 most prominent Digital Futurists to watch out for in 2022 and a Top Retail Influencer, 2023 and 2024. I am a TEDx Speaker, Podcast Host and was featured on Dragons’ Den.

If you think my bio is impressive…my daughter Abi, invented sandals that leave a heart-shaped tan line on your feet called Love Sandal. Abi has been featured in Inc. and won Top 20 Under 20 at only 10 years old.

Not to be outdone, my wife and Co-Founder Julie Smithson, in addition to running operations at METAVRSE, also runs XR Women, the world’s largest XR industry meetup for Women.

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Alan Smithson

Alan’s purpose in life is to inspire and educate future leaders to think and act in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable way.