Inside Dubai's first mall in the metaverse: Here is what you can do in the virtual shopping centre

You can do everything from buying groceries to watching movie trailers


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sun 12 Mar 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 12 Mar 2023, 9:44 PM

From browsing through the latest designs of hoodies to watching movie trailers, Khaleej Times enjoyed spending a few hours inside Dubai's first virtual mall. The Mall of the Metaverse will represent Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) in Decentraland and is the perfect playground for their increasingly Web 3 savvy clientele.

Inaugurated last month, the mall is in the initial phase of development as the group looks "closely" at customers' needs and expectations. “We are a customer-centric and innovative company; thus we want to make sure we are available to our consumers wherever they are whether in a city or in a virtual world,” said Fatima Zada, director of Omnichannels and Digital, Majid Al Futtaim Shopping Malls

Once we arrived at the mall in Decentraland, the first step was to take a mandatory photo at the entrance of the mall which has the signature MAF logo. We walked into the building which had a smaller version of Ski Dubai at the entrance. The poster of a little kid enjoying the snow made us smile. However, we didn’t know how to pass on the smile to our avatar. To the right were some arcade games from Magic Planet.

Going to the left, we walked past Vox Cinemas, but not before watching two trailers on the big screen. After enjoying snippets of the Hollywood film 'Antman and the Wasp: Quantico' and the Bollywood movie 'Shehzade', we moved to the elevator which had a huge signage of iFly above it.

What is inside

Inside the mall, customers' avatars will find Carrefour, VOX Cinemas, THAT Concept Store, Ghawali and Samsung Store, "with many more brands and exciting features in the pipeline".

We went to the THAT store on the first floor. A brand-new hoodie was on display. Clicking on it took us to the website of the store which had several similar hoodies to choose from. Next to it on display was an all-in-one virtual reality headset Oculus Quest 2.

Our next stop was on the second floor which had a Carrefour store. Stacked with fresh food, beverages and personal care items. Clicking on a food item on the rack took us straight to the online Carrefour store. We managed to snag a good deal on sunflower oil just in time for Ramadan.

Our last stop was the rooftop floor. With colourful ring lights, a cool wave-shaped structure in blue and purple and beautiful designs, the rooftop was funky but at the same time had an open top allowing us to watch the clouds float by on Decentraland. There we found kiosks of Ghawali and Samsung.

While the MAF in Decentraland is simply a platform that directs customers to its online shopping areas, Fatima says there are “exciting times ahead” as customers can expect more, depending on what they want.

“As we observe current user interactions with our Mall of the Metaverse via their respective avatars, we can then optimise our experience accordingly,” she said.

“We will also work closely with the Virtual Asset Regulation Authority (VARA) to assess how we can perhaps explore the purchase of wearables and NFTs if we believe there is a market for it.”

Currently, payments are accepted as debit or credit cards but that could change soon. “In the future, we will be able to link to the MetaMask wallet as the platform is on the blockchain, so shoppers will be able to use crypto,” said Fatima.


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