To highlight its new “ECHO” show, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group has partnered with leading metaverse game developer Gamefam in creating and launching “Cirque du Soleil Tycoon,” the entertainment group’s first-ever immersive experience on gaming platform Roblox.
In Tycoon, users will be able to build their own Cirque du Soleil universe “filled with performers, artists, sell-out crowds” and “visually stunning performances,” according to a recent press release.
Tycoon community members can take up the role of showrunner by building and managing a virtual Big Top performance, taking part in interactive challenges and mini-games, hiring acrobats, and setting the stage to create a custom Cirque du Soleil site.
The group's new touring show “ECHO” explores the relationship between humans and nature and influences the branded Roblox world, which “incorporates whimsical and fantastical details” and grants players access to exclusive material including unique virtual items -- customizable animal head masks inspired by “ECHO” costumes” -- and a behind-the-scenes look at how the “ECHO” production works.
“To launch Cirque du Soleil's first-ever digital experience on a major immersive platform like Roblox made a lot of sense for us,” said Sébastien Ouimet, head of filmed and immersive entertainment at Cirque du Soleil. “Just like the story of ECHO which centers around connection, Roblox is all about bringing people together, and in this case, also enabling us to offer a coveted behind-the-scenes experience to millions of fans at once, sans distance or other physical limitations.”
Despite criticism over insufficient content moderation and user safety features, Roblox's user base remains impressively high. In 2020, half of the children in the U.S. were active on the platform, and user count continues to rise, with 66 million daily active users worldwide, according to Statista.
For brands, Roblox is a desired platform for targeting young and teenaged gaming audiences. As of the first quarter of 2023, about 36.9 million Roblox users were 13 years old or above, compared to 28.7 million younger users. According to the company, Roblox's fastest-growing demographic are users between 17 and 24 years.
Cirque du Soleil's Roblox efforts are part of the group's “newly defined mission” to expand its entertainment offerings beyond live shows. “With the creation of Cirque du Soleil Tycoon, we underscore the increasing importance of widening our portfolio of brand experiences across 3D immersive and filmed entertainment, premium content, gaming, and beyond,” noted Nickole Tara, Cirque du Soleil's chief growth officer.
Gamefam, the company that developed and integrated Cirque du Soleil’s Roblox universe, is no stranger to bringing major brands into the metaverse. According to the company, Gamefam operates the largest network of games on Roblox with over 25 million daily game sessions and 115 million hours of engagement each month across 30-plus live games in the company's portfolio.
In February, Gamefam announced an official partnership withParamount Consumer Products and Nickelodeon, bringing two classic cartoon franchises -- "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (TMNT)––to Roblox. The company has also launched Roblox experiences for brands like Warner Music Group, Mattel, and many more.>