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South Korean pop titans Blackpink are coming to Roblox. The band made history this year as the first K-pop group to headline Coachella, and now the four-piece is heading to the metaverse via a dedicated Roblox fan hub.
The experience will be a permanent addition to the virtual online game, giving fans (aka Blinks) an interactive space to celebrate Blackpink’s music and come together to recreate their famed choreography.
In Blackpink: The Palace, fans will also be able to take photographs with the avatars of Jennie, Lisa, Jisoo, and Rosé, and purchase a series of custom outfits and emotes for their own avatars. Users will also be able upgrade their in-experience items by smashing crystals using a hammer-like “lightstick” like the light-up trinkets that fans wield at concerts.
Blackpink: The Palace will be updated throughout the year ahead with a series of challenges that will reward players with Robux, Roblox’s in-game currency.
The Blackpink-themed Roblox world is due to launch August 25, and has been developed by British studio Karta. Any fan who visits the game world within the first 24 hours of release will receive a unique badge for their Roblox profile.
"We look forward to welcoming fans from all over the world to a beautiful virtual palace where they can party, connect, and experience everything Blackpink beyond the constraints of time and space," said Hyojung Lee, Head of IPX Division at YG Plus, in a statement.
Roblox started 2023 by hosting an in-game concert from K-pop boy band NCT 127. Last year, fellow K-pop stars Stray Kids and Sunmi helped launch Spotify’s official Roblox Island with meet and greet events, music production tools, and virtual merch.
Blackpink, meanwhile, won the first-ever “Best Metaverse Performance” award at the 2022 MTV VMAs for their collaboration with battle royale shooter PUBG Mobile. The group has also collaborated with South Korean metaverse platform Zepeto, which is expanding into the NFT world with its ZTX platform on Ethereum scaling network Arbitrum.
K-pop has quickly become a regular fixture in metaverse worlds after several high-profile global virtual concerts were broadcast over the pandemic, including from breakout groups like BTS and Twice. This allowed them to reach a global online audience, with the former also performing in games like Minecraft and Fortnite.
It’s a move that’s backed by the South Korean government, which reportedly invested $170 million in metaverse developments in 2022.
The pivot to the metaverse isn’t that much of a jump for many K-pop fans. Each member of the four-piece group Aespa, for example, has a virtual counterpart that’s used in music videos and for metaverse performances.
Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Korean company Kakao Entertainment teamed with mobile gaming giant Netmarble to create a digital K-pop band called Mave, capable of interacting with physical world fans through AI technologies. Mave released their first track in March, with the video for “Pandora” racking up nearly 4 million views on YouTube.