For fans willing to outfit their video game avatar with the latest, coolest skin, a few bucks here or there is a small price to pay to stick out from the crowd. But on Roblox, the massively popular children’s platform, players are paying as much (if not more) for a virtual Gucci purse as they would for the real thing.
Roblox has a marketplace where its users can sell all sorts of accessories, from funky haircuts to entire outfits, to dress up their avatars. Many items are non-collectibles, meaning as many people can buy them as they want. So when a parent buys a child some Robux, the digital currency used in the game — currently, 1,700 Robux costs $19.99 — kids can go spend that money in games, or they can spend it on the marketplace to dress up their avatar. Some items on the marketplace release as a limited run, as a part of an event. These items are only available for a specified period of time, but they can be resold.
The Gucci Garden Experience was one such event, where users could hang out in a garden space built by Gucci — complete with a pool and balloon arches — or go shopping. When the event was announced to the community on a popular Roblox blog, it was met with derision. Users complained that all the items weren’t free. So they review-bombed the game’s page to express their disapproval. At the time of publishing, the Gucci Garden Event had a 30% thumbs-up rating from users on its store page. Adopt Me!, one of Roblox’s most popular games, has a thumbs-up rating of 84%.
But the event still went ahead, providing a digital locale where fans could buy Gucci accessories for their Roblox avatar. A pair of Gucci diamond-framed sunglasses were sold at the event for 120 Robux or about $1.40. (This and all other conversions in this article were calculated using the current standard cost of Robux.) The items in question were relatively inexpensive (especially for Gucci), but they were only sold during specific windows of time over the course of a few days.
One virtual Gucci shoulder purse that lit up the marketplace is based off an actual fashion line from Gucci. Coupled with a chain strap, it features a big chunky clip on the front, along with a queen bee decal. The Roblox version is beige with the Gucci logo patterned all over it, and priced at 475 Robux (roughly $5.50). It was sold for just one hour during the morning of May 17. Despite the initial blowback for the event, a day later, the purses immediately became a hot commodity.
Roblox scalpers started selling the purse for ridiculous amounts of money, with some people listing the purse for 1 million Robux — seemingly knowing full well that nobody would buy it at that price point. But some people did end up paying hundreds of thousands of Robux for Gucci items. One YouTube video recorded a transaction where a person bought a purse for 350,000 Robux, or roughly $4,115.
By the end of the day the average price for the Gucci purse was 134,257 Robux or roughly $1,578. And as people watched the price shoot up completely awestruck on Roblox, some commented that that same amount of money could get you an actual Gucci purse. (Currently, a Dionysus mini chain bag on Gucci’s website retails for $1,350. The Dionysus GG supreme canvas embroidered Queen Bee shoulder bag, however, retailed for $3,400 originally, according to a Neiman Marcus listing.)
Two days later, another Gucci Dionysus bag — this one with a floral pattern, based on a real-world bag that retailed for $2,700 — went on sale. People flocked to buy it. However, unlike with the Queen Bee bag, many more Roblox players bought it on its release so it didn’t see the same spike in price when the official sale ended. Fashionable Roblox players (and speculators) had learned their lesson.
There are more Gucci items to come, as the event goes on until May 31, but it’s unlikely that any object will reach the heights of the bee purse.
This is just one example of the independent marketplace (run by its young player base) of user-generated content that lives on Roblox. Roblox has its own fashion industry and these sorts of dashes to buy are very reminiscent of buying hard-to-get items in the pandemic. And now, despite people hating on it, everyone wants the item.