Nedbank has become the first bank in Africa to launch a game on the Roblox gaming platform. In the space of only months, the game has already attracted 75 000 gameplay sessions, and sessions continue to increase daily. The game also features in the top 10% in terms of total numbers and session time of Roblox games offering similar experiences.
Chow Town by Nedbank was created in conjunction with Sea Monster Entertainment, a leader in financial education and behavioural change.
Allowing players to set up and expand a start-up takeaway joint through incremental investment, the game has been designed to nurture entrepreneurial skills and guide young people in making good money choices. Roblox is hugely popular with the 9–12 age group, and thus provides a learning environment that will engage their attention and facilitate the learning of these valuable life skills at just the right time of life.
This past weekend, 29–30 July, Nedbank hosted some 302 tweens at a specially constructed Chow Town experience inside Bounce at the popular Fourways Mall. At an adjacent panel discussion of experts, Buli Ndlovu, Executive Head of Retail and Business Banking Marketing at Nedbank, said that Chow Town demonstrates Nedbank’s commitment to developing innovative digital solutions to help its customers meet their goals. The high uptake of Chow Town indicates that the strategy of using gaming to positively impact the youth’s financial behaviour was paying dividends.
‘One of the best gifts we can give our children is a solid appreciation of the value of money and how to earn it,’ she said.
‘To achieve that goal, we realised that, as a bank, we needed to leverage the power of gaming to drive home the message of entrepreneurship and financial education in a way that made the experience fun, so that it will take root,’ said Stelios Vakis, CIO for Nedbank Africa Regions: Our young people increasingly live in the metaverse, so that’s where we have to go and find them.’ Some commentators suggest that the market value of the metaverse could hit $800 billion by next year—an indication that this trend is here to stay.
‘Sea Monster Entertainment is proud to join forces with a leading digital bank, our core game loop focuses on invest, upgrade, build, and earn, which imparts essential concepts of investment and money management within an immersive restaurant management experience. With this unique approach, we ensure that learning becomes an exciting and valuable experience, empowering young minds for a successful future. Together, we bridge the worlds of gaming and banking, creating an educational journey that is both empowering and enjoyable’ says, Lebo Lekoma, Head of Client Services at Sea Monster.
Dr Frank Magwegwe, Executive Head of Financial Wellness and Advisory at Nedbank, continued the discussion by stressing the importance for Nedbank to continue improving the financial education of our youth. He argued that financial education was the first step in driving financial inclusion, and thus facilitating the entry of more South Africans into the economy. ‘Gaming offers an unparalleled way to provide an active and effective learning experience in a risk-free environment,’ he said. ‘Chow Town is a lot of fun, but it also simulates real-life financial and business situations. By responding to those situations, players can learn important skills, like financial planning, and get to grips with important concepts like delayed gratification”.
‘Given the popularity of financial games for all age groups, one can readily see just how learning can become a lifelong – and highly enjoyable – pastime.’
Nedbank’s Chow Town game on Roblox can be accessed at https://chowtown.games/home/.