OREGON, United States — Sportswear giant Nike is tapping into the growing metaverse trend with the launch of its own virtual world called NIKELAND.
Created in partnership with Roblox’s online gaming platform, the virtual world — inspired by Nike’s real-life headquarters — features different Nike buildings, fields and arenas for players to compete in mini-games including ‘tag’, ‘dodgeball’ and ‘The Floor Is Lava’.
Players will have the ability to utilise accelerometers in their mobile devices to transfer offline movement to online play. For example, performing different body movements while holding a device will translate into in-game moves like long jumps or speed runs.
Users will also be able to enter a digital Nike showroom enabling them to kit out their avatar in Nike apparel, discover the brand’s latest products and potentially get a sneek peek into upcoming real-life launches.
The virtual world is free to visit, however, by generating interest in its brand and products through the digital sphere it hopes to translate that hype into physical sales.
“Nike created this bespoke world with the backdrop of its world headquarters and inside Roblox’s immersive 3D space, building on its goal to turn sport and play into a lifestyle,” commented the brand in a statement.
In the future, Nike plans to integrate in-play moments that tie into global sporting events such as the World Cup or Super Bowl, as well as regularly updating the virtual world to include athlete and product integration.
As the metaverse — a shared virtual world where people in the form of avatars can interact with others, enjoy different forms of entertainment and digitally shop — continues to pick up speed thanks to the popularity of immersive games such as Fortnite, the creation of NFTs and the global pandemic acting as a catalyst for digital adoption, it’s not surprising brands like Nike are beginning to think about how they can get a slice of the action.
And the company’s recent moves indicate it has been eyeing its foray into the space for some time.
In October, the brand filed a host of new trademarks pointing to its intent to make and sell virtual Nike-branded sneakers and apparel. The appointment of CEO John Donahoe last year, an expert in the tech space, also points to its commitment to double down on digital and innovate for a future of shopping that fuses the physical and digital worlds.
With the global metaverse market expected to reach $6.16 billion in 2021 and $41.62 billion by 2026, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, it’s an arena we expect to see many other leading health and wellness companies lean into over the next 12 months and beyond.