Walmart virtual shopping video goes viral after social media ridicule – it’s actually five years old

The people behind a virtual reality (VR) shopping experience at Walmart have revealed that a video widely shared – and ridiculed – on social media in recent days is actually five years old.

Mutual Mobile, an end-to-end development company that builds “transformative digital experiences” for its clients, told social media users on Thursday that it was behind the VR version of Walmart.

“Here’s the full video of our Walmart VR store concept demo!” the company wrote. “Almost 5 years later, this demo is proof of how experimental VR once was and how far it has come today!”

The nearly five-minute-long clip shows what a virtual shopping experience at Walmart could look like in future, with a digital shopping assistant aiding the trip around a virtual store.

At one point, a customer is recommended a red wine – a pinot noir – which the virtual shopper takes from the shelf and puts inside a digital cart. At another, the shopper is told that a service charge has been added to their basket for car refuelling.

On Monday, dozens of social media users mocked the virtual reality Walmart for being both a waste of time and “not realistic”, and more than 10 million people watched the video on Twitter alone.

“Nobody, not a single human being on this earth has ever said, ‘Y’know what I really want to do in VR? I want to go shopping at Walmart,’” one person wrote.

“It’s like shopping on their website, but you get charged for damages if your objects clip through the floor.”

“I mean this is pretty cool conceptually but, If I still have to go out to do this, why not just go in the store?”, another person argued. “This would be needlessly complicated. I rather see what I’m buying anyway.”

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Others made references to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s “metaverse” world in which people are able to interact with one another in a digital environment that looks similar to the real world.

One person however said: “I would rather poke my own eyeballs with a rusty fork than spend even a single second of my life in a ‘metaverse’ VR walmart. Like no. Just no. Absolutely not. No”.

The Walmart clip created by Mutual Mobile was first shown at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in 2017 and according to reports, afterwards shown to Walmart shareholders.


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