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Ikea Will Pay You Real Money to Work in Its Virtual Roblox Store

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Have you ever thought you’d be good at hawking digital meatballs or helping someone pick out the perfect Lack? Do you find yourself frequently lost in the haunted furniture store of the Roblox game 3008? If you live in the UK and are 18 or older, you might be in luck. Ikea is opening a store in Roblox and looking for its first hires online. The pay is real—about $16 per hour, not in Robux—even if the store is virtual.

The Co-Worker Game, as the Swedish furniture company calls its Roblox experience, is set to open June 24 and will, in the words of a press release, allow player-employees to “immerse themselves in the working world of Ikea.” Applying includes answering questions like, “If you were a pixelated Ikea furniture, what would you be?” and “What would you do if we ran out of pixelated hot dogs in our bistro?”

On platforms like YouTube, content creators are already creating videos about their application experiences and noting how “weird and wacky” it is. On X, people posted humorous videos of the potential unchillness of a Roblox Ikea: merchandise flying while others dance in the background.

Another X user noted that the furniture company has a “long history and lore on Roblox” and wondered how having the real retailer on the game platform will “affect the existing games and community” on it. Games like 3008 seem spawned from online horror lore like the “Infinite Ikea.” Putting a regular old virtual Ikea in Roblox might not have the same appeal as surviving a spooky one.

Tapping into that enthusiasm for Ikea, though, is part of the idea for The Co-Worker Game. Asked about the role Ikea’s online fandom played in creating the game, a rep for the company told WIRED it was inspired by affection for the chain both online and off. The new Ikea store in the game will test whether that love translates to wanting to work for the company, which is Ikea’s ultimate goal. Co-Worker, according to Darren Taylor, the company’s people and culture manager for the UK and Ireland, is meant to show how employees “are able to change roles, switch departments, and grow in any direction they choose, both in the game or in the real world.”

There is, again, also the possibility of earning real money—something young developers who make games using Roblox’s tools have historically found hard to do. If Gen Zers are already spending, as Roblox’s head of fashion and retail partnerships, Winnie Burke, told Rolling Stone this week, “millions of hours daily” on the platform, why not make some money at it? These Roblox players, Burke added, consider “their digital life just as important—sometimes more—than their physical one.” With wages comparable to real-world gigs, their WFH Ikea jobs could be just as important, too.

Even if it sounds outlandish, it’s not unheard of. In 2022, VRChat players dutifully re-created Kmart stores and role-played as employees there, interviewing for jobs, wearing badges, and checking out customers—for free. For some players, it was a way to build community and overcome social anxieties real-life jobs can sometimes inspire.

Whether the program will continue or remain a one-off is still unclear, though maybe couples thinking about braving their first store trip together could benefit from a Roblox Ikea dry run first.

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