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Barbie Dreamhouse Tycoon Launches on Roblox, Timed to Movie Release


As the Barbie movie, starring Margot Robbie, dominates the global box office, Mattel has quietly launched a new Barbie-themed branded experience on Roblox.


The new Barbie Dreamhouse Tycoon experience is still in Beta, but it was clearly important for Mattel and developer Gamefam to release it publicly in order to capitalize on all of the interest in the brand driven by the hit movie's opening weekend and incredible fan response.


The Barbie Movie is a Global Cultural Phenomenon

I just took my family (pictured above) to see the movie, and we all loved it. My wife and daughters dressed up, and the theater was full of others excitedly wearing pink. After leaving the screening, one of my daughters, who has long outgrown playing with dolls, repeatedly begged me to stop at a store, so she could buy a Barbie and customize it. I haven't taken her to buy a Barbie just yet, but I'll probably take her today.


My wife was similarly enthusiastic afterwards, giving strong recommendations to other friends and encouraging them to watch the movie. She also said several times that she plans on watching the movie again to better unpack all of the layers.


Strong word of mouth, driving IRL experiences, and promoting physical product sales are all big wins for Barbie and Mattel. And this is happening all around the world. So it's no surprise that the brand would extend its reach into Roblox, where 66 million people spend time every day, hanging out with friends and dressing up their avatars.


June, 2022: Barbie Started on Roblox with UGC

Barbie is no stranger to Roblox, and the path the brand has taken to expand over time has been very interesting. Back in June of 2022, a full year before the movie release, Barbie started off by offering UGC virtual items on the platform through a partnership with retailer Forever 21.


At Metaverse Marcom, we're big proponents of UGC as a great entry point for brands because they are relatively fast and easy to make, provide super valuable data, and open the chance for monetization.


By taking this small step to entering Roblox, Mattel was able to test and learn without a huge investment in time, money, and energy.


Sept, 2022: Barbie Integrated into a Popular Experience

The next way that the Barbie brand showed up on the platform was by integrating into a popular experience, Livetopia, which currently attracts over 3 million people from around the world every day.


Branded integrations are a great next step for brands who are looking to go beyond offering UGC. Because popular Roblox experiences have a track record of visits and engagement, it's easy for brands to know ahead of time how many people they will reach before building anything.


From a marketing and awareness perspective, integrations are great, and it makes sense that Barbie showed up this way on the platform.


July, 2023: Now Comes the Full Barbie Dreamhouse Experience

The recent release of the Barbie Dreamhouse Tycoon makes sense as the next step for the brand.


Having leveled up through its UGC and integration campaigns, Mattel and Barbie was no stranger to the platform and the Roblox the community. And they clearly had interesting data around engagement and demographics that likely validated their decision to keep expanding their presence on the platform and understand the best ways to do so.


Building a custom experience takes significant time and resources. It's unclear when Mattel decided to do this for Barbie, but it easily could have been sometime last year.


There is some interesting text in the experience's description that's worth noting: "BARBIE™ and associated trademarks and trade dress are owned by, and used under license from, Mattel. ©2023 Mattel."


Given this information, it seems like Gamefam licensed the Barbie IP from Mattel.


Free Barbie Branded UGC to Attract People

As we've seen many times before, free UGC played a role in the experience's launch. Although Roblox is in the midst of charging brands to offer free UGC items, it seems like brands are still offering free UGC as a key traffic driver.


This screenshot above shows that the Barbie experience is planning to offer 5 different times, including a bag, hair, and dress, that will be released over the course of 6 days.


Social Media Creators Promote Free UGC Organically

We know from past experience that appealing free UGC gets talked about across social media platforms such as Twitter, TikTok and YouTube. That's been the case here with several videos and posts easy to find by searching for Barbie on Roblox.


When evaluating the ROI of a brand activation, the impressions and engagement driven by this supplemental content should also be considered.


Barbie Dreamhouse is a Tycoon Game

Tycoon is a popular game genre on Roblox, and it is the obvious pick for the Barbie Dreamhouse.


In this experience, people can step over buttons that bring to life new structure and elements within the house, such as furniture, decorations and fixtures.


In the picture above, when an avatar steps over the pink "Computer" button that costs 630 coins to unlock, a computer set up with several monitors pops up on the screen.


Fully-Built Dreamhouses Are Super Elaborate

By watching YouTube videos, you can see what fully-built dreamhouses look like. They are expansive with multiple levels, fountains, chandeliers, paintings, pools, and of course lots of pink.


Although the experience has come out at the same time as the Barbie movie, there appears to be no mention of the movie within the experience thus far. But that doesn't mean that the movie won't be promoted within the experience at some point in the future.


Gamefam, the developer of this experience, has also worked on the Sonic the Hedgehog experience on Roblox, which was used to promote the launch of the Sonic Prime animated series on Netflix. So clearly, Gamefam has experience using traffic to their Roblox experiences to promote content off Roblox. I could see the Barbie movie getting direct promotion via Roblox at some point in the near future.


Monetization within the Experience

There are several ways that the experience is monetizing. Game passes are offered that range in price from 199 - 599 Robux. They help people move and level up more quickly, allowing them to build their dreamhouses faster.


Assuming that Gamefam licensed the Barbie IP from Mattel, driving revenue through effective monetization tactics would be important for both Gamefam and Mattel.


How is Barbie Dreamhouse Tycoon Performing?

On pace to cross 1 million visits within about 3 to 4 days, the experience is off to a strong start. It's also worth remembering that the game is still in Beta.


What's most impressive at looking at the experience's stats on Romonitor is the high session length of nearly 16 minutes. That points to the gameplay being fun and super sticky. It also appears that you must spend time building out your dreamhouse in order to claim the free UGC items, so that might be driving up session length as well.


Interested in exploring Roblox as a pathway for monetization and marketing for your brand? If so, we can help! Email us at hello@metaversemarcom.io


Stephen Dypiangco is the CEO of Metaverse Marcom, a strategy and consulting firm helping entertainment brands enter Roblox and start monetizing. Want more insights to master Roblox for brands?

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