Metaverse news


Sporting goods manufacturer Nike has always been at the forefront of digital transformation. Artificial intelligence (AI), e-commerce and in-store technology have been an integral part of the brand's strategy over the years. More recently, the company has embraced new concepts such as meta-universe, NFT and web3. Here's an overview of some of the ways Nike uses these technologies to stay relevant and on the cutting edge of culture.

Nike and the meta-universe.

Nikeland is Nike's purpose-built metaverse space that uses the Roblox platform to allow its fans to meet, interact, participate in promotions and interact with a range of brand features.

"Metaworld" is the term used to describe a new breed of platform-based virtual worlds that users explore and interact with as avatars of themselves. Of course, there have always been virtual spaces where users could play games, chat or work. What makes the meta-universe different is that we can do all these things, and more, within one permanent environment and set of rules.
According to Nike, 7 million visitors have spent time at Nikeland since its launch in November 2021. There, they've been able to enjoy appearances by sports stars, including LeBron James, as well as purchase exclusive digital merchandise to decorate their avatars. These merchandise aren't limited to Nikeworld, they can be worn when their avatars travel to other Roblox locations, turning visitors into digital brand ambassadors. They can also test their reaction and strategic skills in a number of games with the chance to win even more merchandise and rewards.

Each Nikeland visitor also becomes the keeper of their own "yard," a personal space at Nikeworld that can be used to display their collectibles and decorate according to their personality.

Nike is a leader among brands demonstrating that the ethic of "selling a lifestyle" can work just as effectively in the digital world as it does in the real world. In this way, the company has successfully transferred its ability to cultivate aspirations into the virtual realm, both in the form of desirable, fashionable products that users can own and in the form of competitions, challenges and opportunities to demonstrate high performance and achievement. This means that the brand serves as a great demonstration of how digital transformation aligns with its existing identity and ideals.

Web3 and NFTs

Nike has also been very quick to capitalize on the trend of NFTs. These are tokens that are stored on blockchain and can be used to create digital assets that are essentially unique and one-of-a-kind. While most digital objects (like a JPG image or an MP3 tune) can be duplicated an infinite number of times, an NFT is a unique piece of digital data that can be attached to any other digital object, theoretically giving it uniqueness.

Nike demonstrated how much it liked the idea of NFT last December when it acquired RTFKT Studios, the maker of "next generation" NFT collectibles. It's not hard to understand the studio's appeal to the sportswear maker when you learn that in just six minutes it managed to sell 600 pairs of NFT sneakers for a total of $3.1 million.

Nike's first collection of NFT sneakers, created in collaboration with RTFKT Studios, is called the CryotoKicks Dunk Genesis, and by owning it, users can personalize them with "skin bubbles." These bubbles can be created by different designers, adding special effects and patterns to the basic sneakers.

This shows that Nike clearly understands the value of personalization to today's consumers-especially young millennials and Generation Z, many of whom value unique, one-of-a-kind or custom-made items over identical mass-produced goods.

Experiential marketplaces.

Nike's latest adventures in digital transformation are not limited to the virtual and digital world. Its real, brick-and-mortar stores are also becoming storefronts where the brand uses new technology.

At the flagship store in New York City, the idea is that encouraging users to interact with and learn about the brand through sports and technology is just as important as encouraging them to buy merchandise. They can play hoops on the store's ballpark, equipped with cameras and video screens to capture and play back highlights in real time. Or they can work up a sweat on a treadmill that simulates outdoor running. They can also pick out shoes to their liking and get advice from trainers and instructors who are always on hand before they buy.

The key word here is experience. In a world where consumers say that a positive brand experience is more important than factors like price when making purchasing decisions, Nike hopes that technology will create memorable shopping and recreational experiences that strengthen the bond between customers and the brand. This will mean that they will be more likely to look for the famous Swoosh logo the next time they buy sporting goods - real or virtual.

To keep up with the latest news about the meta-universe and broader business and technology trends, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and check out my new book, Augmented Reality in Practice: 100+ Amazing Ways Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality Changes Business and Society (which just won the Business Book of the Year 2022 Award in the Specialty Book category). And, of course, you can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube and explore my website for new material.