From meatballs to metaverse – IKEA's flatpack fantasy lands on Roblox

Swedish furniture giant has 10 paid in-game jobs to fill

First Ryanair, now flatpack chairs – IKEA is coming to Roblox.

Last year, The Register observed with a cocked eyebrow that teens were replicating flights on the budget airline, from check-in to arrival, within the kids' metaverse muckabout.

Not only that, they appeared to enjoy the ordeal, with the project at the time celebrating its millionth flight.

But from June 24, youngsters will be able to emulate another example of mundanity in extremis – the infamous one-way system of the Swedish furniture merchant.

Roblox has a somewhat sketchy reputation among the older and wiser as a digital sweatshop of sorts. It is not a game as such, but rather a game creation platform. For the price of a subscription, anyone, including professional developers, can use the company's provided tools to make their own "experiences" for others to play in the hopes of hitting it big and maybe even making some cash.

As a result of this low barrier to entry, Roblox is littered with nonsensical experiences where kids mainly seem to stand around doing nothing (from a parent's perspective). In which case the bewilderment of an IKEA store will fit right in.

As if to run with the digital sweatshop theme, IKEA is even offering paid roles within the experience, which is called "The Co-Worker Game." But rather than this being a bit of harmless fun, it sounds like an actual job.

There are only ten roles up for grabs, and applicants must be over the age of 18, which strikes out nearly 60 percent of the player base. It's also only available in the UK and Ireland. The window closes on June 16, after which those shortlisted will have to attend virtual interviews. The mind boggles as to what sort of questions will be asked – "Do you play Roblox? Can you tell your TÅGARP from your KLEPPSTAD?"

The initiative is pitched as an unconventional recruitment drive for the furniture chain. "We're excited to be the first brand to launch paid work on Roblox to showcase how we do careers differently, bringing our unique careers philosophy to life," said Darren Taylor, Country People and Culture Manager for IKEA UK and Ireland.

"At IKEA, there is no set route to career progression. Our co-workers are able to change roles, switch departments, and grow in any direction they choose, both in the game or in the real world. There are many ways to learn and grow at IKEA, and that's what IKEA on Roblox is all about."

Everyone else can "venture to IKEA's famous Swedish Food Market and Bistro and serve up endless amounts of meatballs or stop over at the various showrooms and use famous IKEA products to organise the space – say hello to HEMNES heaven." All with the chance to win exclusive IKEA in-game assets, we're told.

So if you have a mopey, unemployed 18-year-old at home who lives and breathes Roblox, maybe give them a nudge. Who knows, one day they might even manage their own bricks-and-mortar store, and that's a rags to above-average income story we can get behind. ®

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