MELON’s team of software engineers, artists and developers are bringing games and even real-life concert experiences into what they’ve named the “Melonverse.”
If you have a child under 12, you probably know the world of Roblox, a virtual platform that immerses users in games, e-commerce and more. One of the buzziest experiences to recently hit Roblox was a virtual recreation of Chipotle’s original restaurant concept, bringing burritos into the metaverse. The company behind the headline-generating experience is MELON, based in Orlando, the MetaCenter of the Metaverse.
MELON’s team of software engineers, artists and developers are bringing games and even real-life concert experiences into what they’ve named the “Melonverse.” Many of MELON’s employees have been on the platform for over a decade.
The company, established in 2017, moved from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Orlando, to take advantage of the thriving tech talent coming out of the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Full Sail University, among others. The company has since grown from just one employee to around 70 and is still expanding.
Approximately 500,000 higher education students can be found within 100 miles of downtown Orlando. To fuel its growth, MELON has a direct talent pipeline from Central Florida universities that offer specialized programs and certifications in AR/VR and simulation, including UCF’s Game Design Master’s Degree, Full Sail University’s Game Design Bachelor’s Degree, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Simulation Science, Games and Animation program, and Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA), a top graduate school for video game design where simulation is embedded in the curriculum.
The company is now pushing the boundaries of gaming with their own interactive experiences, such as the brand-new NFL Quarterback Simulator and NFL Tycoon. The game allows users to build their own stadium and to incorporate their favorite team merchandise. Gaming bridges the gap between brands and younger audiences who are living their lives online.
The MELON team also designs virtual experiences to complement real-life museums, such as the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The Roblox version of the science museum, CurioCity, allows users to escape a futuristic moon base and shrink to microscopic levels. Incorporating educational gaming into the metaverse plays to some of the youngest demographics.
MELON also caters to a wide-ranging audience. Nowhere has the company been more successful than with its most famous customer: Chipotle. The Roblox “Burrito Builder” game allowed players to earn burrito bucks, which then allowed the first 100,000 customers to exchange the virtual currency for a real-life discount code on the app or online. MELON’s innovative design challenged the status quo for metaverse experiences and tied it to the real world.
MELON’s foray into concerts has given Roblox users live performances and experiences that go beyond games. Award-winning singer and guitarist George Ezra held a performance and Q&A live on the Roblox platform in the summer of 2022. MELON also helped design a metaverse block party, known as Guacathon, to celebrate the life of Parkland High School massacre victim Joaquin “Guac” Oliver. The sale of virtual goods at the block party benefited the gun policy reform organization, Change the Ref.
Through tying the metaverse to real-life events and real-world people and places, MELON is making its mark on the metaverse while helping to solidify Orlando’s reputation as the MetaCenter.
To learn more about why Orlando is the MetaCenter of the Metaverse, visit themetacenter.org. View the gallery below for a selection of content from the MELONverse.