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Suit Up Games - Roblox Studio for Branded Experiences

Interview with Ross Targett of Suit Up Games.

While researching and writing about brand experiences on Roblox, I've had the pleasure to connect with a variety of professionals working on the platform from all over the world.

Several of months ago, I met UK-based Ross Targett of Suit Up Games in Miami at the Kidscreen conference. Since then, we've stayed in touch, and Ross has let me know about cool things he's working on such as an integration he set up for Netflix's original movie Nimona.

So when I decided to start profiling Roblox development studios that work with brands, Ross immediately came to mind.

[If you're a creator or developer working with brands on Roblox and would like to be featured in a future interview, please reach out!]

In this interview, Ross discusses his experience working with brands, the importance of the Roblox algorithm in driving traffic, and much more.

Metaverse Marcom: Who do you work for, and what do you do there?

Ross Targett: I run Suit Up Games, a work for hire studio consisting of a team of 45 developers, artists and producers who make branded experiences exclusively on Roblox.

In-person Suit Up Games Southern California Meet Up. May 2023

Metaverse Marcom: Why is your company making branded experiences on Roblox?

Ross Targett: For me, Suit Up Games likely started because I've been building Roblox games since 2016 in one form or another, so I've focused on specializing on the platform.

I was fortunate enough to have my last gaming studio acquired by Roblox, so I'm a big believer in the company, its ambitions and audience reach. I've seen Roblox grow over the years into something very special.

Metaverse Marcom: What brands have you worked with? In what capacity have you worked with them?

Ross Targett: Over the years our studio has had clients such as Disney, Apple TV, Hasbro, Mattel & Paramount+.

This year we've released experiences with Kraft-Heinz, Netflix and have six more activations going live by the end of the year.

Suit Up Games activation with The Kraft Heinz Company - Survive the City | Lunchables with 100% Juice on Roblox

Metaverse Marcom: When you meet with brands, why do they typically want to be on Roblox?

Ross Targett: We typically find ourselves catering to three core brand objectives on Roblox:

1. Having a metaverse activation of some form and being one of the first in their market to conduct these experiments with the view to building new marketing activations away from their current core channels. 2. Shifting traditional media budget which targets impressions on Roblox. If you own a brand that focuses on younger audiences, then traditional marketing channels such as TV, display and video may no longer be as relevant as gaming, where their audience is growing the fastest with the deepest engagement levels.

It also helps that impressions on Roblox are notably cheaper on a CPM level compared with other channels, where costs have rocketed in recent years.

3. A new source of revenue for a brand. Here brands are looking to Roblox as a way to engage their audience and monetize them. In these circumstances we take on a joint revenue share with clients.

Metaverse Marcom: What do you wish all brands knew before they started building on Roblox?

Ross Targett: The Roblox community is exactly that, a community. You need to build experiences that work for the player audience to be successful. We suggest working with us on the game design element, submitting RFPs with your objectives on the platform, rather than looking for a studio to build out a specific game idea you may have previously formulated. The Roblox front page algorithm is critical for driving the overwhelming majority of plays on the platform. The greatest number of players will discover your game organically (>95%) from the front page where Roblox rotates the experiences it believes an audience will enjoy.

The difference between your game generating hundreds of thousands of plays compared to tens of millions is down to mastering it. Let us help advise on the best methods to achieve that to help deliver your goals.

The Roblox front page is the main landing page of the platform where Roblox showcases and promotes a selection of games and experiences to its users.

Metaverse Marcom: What are the ways your company helps brands activate on Roblox?

Ross Targett: We can offer three types of activations.

1. Bespoke custom game builds: We design, build and run your campaign in Roblox keeping your experience live forever on the platform. This is a fully customizable game, suited to a brand's specific objectives. 2. Game integrations: We help you source popular Roblox games to take-over for a limited period with your brand identity. This is great for shorter flights within specific brand campaigns. 3. Media buys: We can design packages to promote your new or existing game to ensure it has your desired player/impression reach on the platform through the Roblox immersive ads network, which includes portals, billboards, sponsored games and giving away free UGC.

Metaverse Marcom: What's been your biggest lesson learned working with brands on Roblox?

Ross Targett: That brand partners want to push the boundaries when it comes to their marketing and offer something more unique than what has been done before. Brand activations often wrestle two conflicting goals: what works for the Roblox audience and how do they build something unique. There are some branded games that have achieved hundreds of millions of plays, while others have generated fewer than 100,000.

Our main "North Star" is typically to go for known player engagement that turns into gameplays, but sometimes a client wants to make a game that is unique to Roblox and may be pushing the boundary of what is a known successful formula. It's awesome when brands embrace that, and I love that a lot of brands are experimenting with unique game ideas on the platform, even if they don't always stick.

To me I'd rather see something interesting than another branded tycoon game, which are a known way to monetize on Roblox, but offer little new innovation to the platform.

Metaverse Marcom: What do you think leads to a successful brand activation on Roblox?

Roblox offers a diverse range of game types, from immersive adventures and simulation games to action-packed shooters and creative sandbox experiences, catering to a wide variety of player preferences.

Ross Targett: Ultimately the main game loop is everything. You need to have a compelling "grind" mechanic that makes the game fun throughout all tasks. After that make sure you design a strong theme/fantasy. Kids are aspirational, and games with a strong goal will encourage players to stay for the long haul.

If you get those two things right, the other elements will fit into place.

Then you need to ensure you have good social features. Kids love dressing avatars, building and designing houses, playing various games and interacting with other players as they show their aspiration to a wider community. We offer influencer options as part of our media packages. Roblox streamers are hungry for content and will often play and review new games for their audience. If you make gameplay that is appealing, i.e. allow humor elements, you can build organic engagement in the community very effectively.

This ties in well with in-game collectibles and free UGC. Make something cool to giveaway free to players, make them time-limited, and you'll see big boosts to your numbers. Finally, a great game will fail unless it is regularly updated. These live-ops updates can be small, from minor content updates to even updating your game's icon every week. Players who have played an experience before will be prompted when updates are released, creating a large, free, retargeting funnel for your experience.

In short, don't think about the production build as the day you release, but the length of time you want to support and engage your audience. It's imperative that your production house dedicates significant time to making that work.

Metaverse Marcom: What advice do you have for brands considering Roblox?

Ross Targett: When setting your goals on Roblox, you need to adjust your expectations based on your investment budget, not just compare what has been done before and hope you can achieve it with your budget. Every brand has a different objective on the platform, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to meeting your client's objectives. We invest a significant amount of time educating brands and agency partners on how best to develop games for Roblox, so during the RFP phase expectations of what can be achieved within their goal parameters are met. Basically, we can cater to most budget levels, but how we activate your brand on Roblox and the outcomes of that campaign will vary. It all comes down to production costs - some games take six months to build, other experiences can be delivered in two. The KPIs will vary and we’ll advise accordingly.

Stephen Dypiangco is the CEO of Metaverse Marcom, a strategy and consulting firm helping entertainment and sports brands enter Roblox.





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