Although there will be no avatars during the launch, the brand’s wishes are that the products released on the Swoosh can be worn on the platform. “I can imagine that the RTFKT avatars can wear our apparel, and the avatars in the games you already play,” said Ron Faris, VP/GM of Nike Virtual Studios, the arm of the brand established in early 2022 to focus on reality. part.
Of course, the studio NFT RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”) was bought by Nike in December 2021, so the placement of “codesigned” real clothes on the platform is not surprising. Beyond this, there are no details about the compatibility of Swoosh products with other platforms or metaverses, but Faris says that the plan is “a collaboration where our clothes will start to work in many situations or games that you play.” In other words, wait and see. Meta’s recent announcement that his avatars will have legs seems like a good opportunity for sneakers.
Nike already has a customizable place on Roblox—Nikeland—where users can buy and wear real items using money or crypto but in-game currency. Launched in November 2021, the popular world has seen more than 26 million visitors, according to Roblox. Again, Faris doesn’t seem to know how the Swoosh will connect with Nikeland. He said: “We haven’t really thought about what this looks like.”
By introducing the Swoosh, Nike may be creating a world of their own that won’t need to rely on other platforms. Nikeland can be incorporated into the Swoosh, but the interaction needs to be front and center for this to happen. That’s why MSquared, a division of Improbable that creates metaverses for other people, needs customers to ensure that all its sites are compatible.
Nike isn’t the first high-end clothing brand to take on the real thing. Gucci has been a bit of a pioneer: In 2021, the brand launched the digital-only Gucci Virtual 25 shoes, which can be worn on VRChat and Roblox, and created Gucci Town on Roblox, an immersive site where users can buy other Gucci clothes. . The bet seems to have paid off: The only digital Gucci bag on Roblox sold for more than its physical counterpart (in game currency, of course). Vault, Gucci’s online store that hosts various crypto and NFT projects, was introduced to The Sandbox in October 2022, strengthening the brand’s relationship with the metaverse.
Givenchy, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger also have a place on Roblox where digital products are sold. And in June 2022, Balenciaga, Thom Browne, and Prada teamed up with Meta to create products for sale at the new Avatars Store. According to Bloomberg, the metaverse market could reach $783.3 billion in 2024, up from $478.7 billion in 2020—and no doubt virtual reality plays a role.
Nike may see the virtual reality market as the next step in its digital success. The brand has seen a significant increase in online sales due to the pandemic, and by March 2022, digital strategies and programs accounted for more than a quarter of its revenue, with digital sales increasing significantly.