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The brand is making a debut on Roblox, with a game designed for the platform's 55 million daily active users.
Sanrio is developing its first Hello Kitty Cafe game, based on the real cafes that have opened in places such as Las Vegas, Irvine, California, and other regions in Asia.
In an interview with GamesBeat, Craig Takiguchi, the chief operating officer and head of business development at Sanrio. "It's probably the first significant digital announcement that will help set the stage for our wider narrative online."
Sanrio has been working with Roblox for over 60 years to test the waters of the, the world of virtual worlds that are all connected, like in novels such as and. Most visions of the metaverse do not have hardcore sci-fi characters, but I believe that Hello Kitty characters are just as welcome, especially on a youth-oriented platform like Roblox.
Sanrio is investing a large part of its marketing resources into developing age-appropriate games, content, platforms, and ecommerce that will reach new users and provide new experiences to consumers of all ages.
Several recent examples include a Hello Kitty integration with Toca Boca, which was first launched in December, for younger demographics and Razer for older audiences, followed by several high-profile partnerships in the next months.
Hello Kitty was introduced to the world by pioneering coins purses, then plush dolls became very popular. And then it made its way to erasers, pencil cases, and all kinds of accessories.
It was really left to the consumer to create that world among themselves, Takiguchi said. We did many iterations in the physical world, but I believe the digital world will allow them to go significantly deeper. Now, we can now be more open to playing with Hello Kitty and get a chance to have a deeper emotional connection.
The Hello Kitty Cafe on Roblox is going to be released later on.
What we intend to do is to have a safe environment so that people can interact and we can enliven other members of the community, Takiguchi said. This is our first step. We want internally to reach over a billion gamers and viewers by 2025.
The Hello Kitty Cafe game
Sanrio worked with Sanrio to develop Roblox's game, and Sanrio himself crafted a lot of the narrative for the game.
The game is a play-playing game centered around a main town in which players will be able to operate their own truck and pop-up cafe. They may then enter a more sophisticated cafe and recruit their favorite characters from Hello Kitty. These characters are part of a new "gacha" collection system. The whole experience is somewhat like a Diner Dash experience, where you're doing a lot of maintenance to keep customers happy in a cafe.
Players level up by greeting and seating the customers and filling orders like a real cafe. And when they do level up, they will earn Robux currency. And that will enable them to purchase new items and hire new employees. The game is designed to keep players coming back.
Takiguchi said, The more they progress, the more they will unlock, adding new recipes, decor, cafe extensions, and more. Takiguchi said, while some online and offline collaboration will bring the physical and digital realms of the cafes together.
We were very attempting to get started with the genre first and then the correct developer, Takiguchi said.
The metaverse strategy
Sanrio is considering web 3 investments and other ways to work authentically on other platforms. Over time, the company hopes to have a similar type of metaverse with the upcoming multiplayer game. Were excited about that aspect, but were going deeper into social connections.
Going where fans are
Sanrio's brands and characters can be seen in various places on Roblox already, but not in an official licensed capacity. In these cases, fan-generated content has been created without official permission.
Sanrio has now the capability to participate in Hello Kitty's earnings via an official game.
We believed that by having so much momentum with cafes offline, we can tap that audience into the digital world, Takiguchi said. We feel very confident with only North America alone and our social media fan base, we can tap them in.
Sanrio will probably conduct other types of collaborations, but Roblox has had such a strong growth that it makes sense to target the platform early in the company's intentions.
"This would be the first major platform game that we're developing on the market, but in the next 12 to 18 months, we'll be launching some other programs as well in the context of the metaverse."
The metaverse and the brand
Several brands are thinking about the metaverse. At our event, weve got a discussion on user-generated content on Roblox with Gamefam and a discussion of brands and the metaverse.
We're doing a lot of work on this when it comes to product licensing and we went deep into it, we lose control of our customers, especially because we have the ability to obtain access to a tens of thousands of different services very quickly. Takiguchi said.
Sanrio can have more control over what happens with the brand and the characters, in contrast to licensing the characters for physical products.
This allows us to do so is to connect with the audience, enable us to establish a deep emotional connection with the actors, and allows us to engage directly with them.
Sanrio is chasing the digital natives, the kids who developed tablets and smartphones, as well as their parents through this type of effort.
We believe this can help us to help the two generations reconcile in ways that can be very beneficial, and hopefully use that as a platform to build relationships again, Takiguchi said. That's about friendship, kindness, inclusivity, and using our characters to demonstrate that everyone has a place in the world.
As for blockchain, the company isn't diving in yet, as a lot of consolidation and sorting out must take place there, and most of the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that have so far don't have much benefit.
We don't need to be an early adopter, as we want to have the maximum audience possible, said Takiguchi.
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