Metaverse news

Nike captures the metaverse through direct sales of avatars

Last year, Nike fully embraced the metaverse as a brand. The strategic flagging that the retailer established has been paying off ever since. The real-world icon increasingly enjoys first-person advantage in the metaverse. Nike Digital, the division that includes the company's branded web3 businesses, brings in 26% of Nike's total revenue as of this writing. Just last December, the company acquired NFT Studio and RTFKT Digital Fashion Center, which now operates under the Nike Virtual Studio umbrella.

As Nike focuses on growing new business with virtual products, the brand has even trademarked "CryptoKicks," which is the name of their most popular first digital acoustic model RTFKT x Nike Dunk Genesis CryptoKicks. The release of NFT's wearable metaverse digital sneakers came with a full Web3 experience, as Nike used a marketing construct similar to popular real-life product releases and fashion collaborations to promote the product "right into the avatar."

Given the nature of the digital collection of metaverse wearables, and the fact that this was Nike's first release since acquiring RTFKT, a simple announcement probably would have been enough to generate hype and excitement to the point of selling out CryptoKicks. But Nike's announcement came months after owners of previous RTFKT NFTs received free Nike-branded MNLTH NFT assets. MNLTH NFTs sent their owners to the Nike-branded meta universe to find out more, and they ended up getting the long-awaited RTKFT x Nike Dunk Genesis CryptoKicks.

Based on Nike's actual Nike Dunk sneaker, the CryptoKick sneakers, worn with NFT's Ethereum chain, can change their appearance, called "leather," with another NFT addition called Skin Vials. The eight Skin Vials created by NFT artists vary in rarity and work with virtual Dunks from Nike as well as other compatible virtual sneakers, giving one pair of NFT sneakers "thousands of possible looks." Non-NNLTH NFT owners can buy CrypoKicks on the open market, and these digital collectibles have already raised tens of millions of dollars.

A key component of Nike's approach to selling virtual products through the metaverse, based on direct contact with avatars, is the launch of its own Nikeland metaverse. Located on the hugely popular Roblox platform and metaverse, Nikeland has already received nearly 7 million direct visits from 224 countries since its launch. Access to Nikeland is free and replete with minigames. Users are encouraged to outfit their avatars with digital versions of Nike's latest products, and customers can purchase cryptokits and Nike skins directly for their avatars.

Nikeland also serves as the venue for exclusive digital events featuring Nike's celebrity partners and sponsored athletes like LeBron James.


This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, Fashioning Virtual Identity.