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Moonrock Labs brings together content marketing for brands and game developers to develop branded experiences for the metaverse.
It’s a young company but it has hit the ground running in deals with a lot of different brands and game companies. It is working with brands such as Lenovo, Kellogg, Coca-Cola/Fanta, Burger King and a number of others that want to move into metaverse experiences like Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft.
“Moonrock Labs is all about helping brands get their branding into games like Roblox and Minecraft,” said John Benyamine, cofounder of Moonrock Labs, in an interview with GamesBeat. “To really engage with audiences with custom Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite activations.”
Gaming content veteran John Gaudiosi worked with Benyamine at Greenlit Content in their previous company. They exited in 2019, selling the company to Rekt Global, which in turn sold itself to Infinite Reality for $470 million in April 2022.
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Gaudiosi left to start Moonrock Agency to work on content marketing for brands in gaming. Benyamine joined him later. Then Benyamine met Krishna Singh, at, of all places, the GamesBeat Summit Next conference in November 2022. Singh told Benyamine he had been looking for him.
Singh was CFO of EVNT, a development studio. He proposed they get together and start Moonrock Labs, which would focus on bringing together brands with games inside metaverse experiences like Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite.
The companies formed a joint venture called Moonrock Labs, which is part of Moonrock. Benyamine is cofounder of Moonrock Labs and strategic adviser to Moonrock. Gaudiosi serves as president of Moonrock. Singh is CFO of Moonrock Labs. Noah Barskiy is CEO of Moonrock Labs, and Jordan Baker is COO of Moonrock Labs. They’re all applying their expertise to creating branded experiences aimed at reaching the tens of millions of users who are growing up inside metaverse experiences.
Sometimes they get their projects done in eight weeks. But others can take longer, Barskiy said.
“It depends on the project and how broad a backend we need to make,” Barskiy said. “Sometimes we can put a lot of engineers on it. For smaller-scale projects, it’s just a few people. One project is probably going to have 50 or 60 people.”
All told, Moonrock has access to around 100 employees and contractors. Among the additional clients are Amazon Studios, Twitch Rivals, The Lord of the Rings, Microsoft, ESL, Xbox Game Pass, X Games, Lenovo, Dermalogica, and Bisect Hosting.
“We do game activations on a few platforms,” Barskiy said. “Those brands say here’s the budget and timeline. Can you get us in there? There is a colossal amount of work to be had.”
The company has completed activations such as Restaurant Tycoon 2 on Roblox, which has over 900 million total visits. It also did TwitchCon San Diego 2022 “Minecraft MOBA,” Bird’s Eye View of TwitchCon San Diego’s Minecraft MOBA in-game lobby build, with Capital One, Dunkin, & Verizon billboards for all players to see.
And it worked on Burger King’s Fortnite Race Track, which featured billboards, logos, a large Whopper, and builds of restaurants for players to zoom past in custom-branded Burger King racecars. And it created Fanta’s Halloween Fortnite map with Halloween-themed Fanta bottles, branded billboards and exploding soda volcanoes.
There is so much to do that many companies in this space see each other as potential collaborators, not competitors, Barskiy said. Some companies want lobbies or town squares for their brands. But players often want something lot more engaging in the form of a game. Figuring out what to do for a brand in a specific space is where the collaboration happens, Barskiy said. The team is spread out.
“A lot of us have been working together for a long time so we can fluidly work things a lot faster,” Barskiy said.
Moonrock Labs is focusing on gamified experiences where the hope is to involve the community as much as possible. They build the game or app and get as many influencers to collaborate on it and promote it. That helps the games spread.
“Some of our products have gotten multiple different millions of unique players, some of which reached as much as 20,000 concurrent players,” he said. “A lot of people have realized is that any game that is subject to customization and you can have player-generated content and have infinite amounts of video games within a video game,” Barskiy said. “This is something we’ve been dreaming about for a very long time.”
The idea is to create compelling, high-quality content that engages with the people that brands want to meet. And the place where they’ll meet is a gaming metaverse, using turnkey services for development and brand integration. The key is communicating exactly what the players want and the brands’ goals.
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