Nike creates virtual product community in the metaverse

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
nikeland
Nike is moving beyond offering its ‘Nikeland’ experience (pictured) in the metaverse.

Nike is continuing to expand its metaverse presence with a new immersive digital platform connecting creators and buyers of virtual goods.

The global athletic brand is launching .Swoosh, a metaverse platform that has its own domain, welcome.swoosh.nike, and is designed to enable registered members to learn about, collect, and eventually help co-create virtual products, which are typically interactive digital objects such as virtual shoes or jerseys.

Currently in beta, registration to join .Swoosh begins in November 2022. For the rest of the year, Nike will grow the platform by inviting in what is says will be a “diverse, equitable” community of users. The company then plans to introduce its first digital collection, shaped by .Swoosh member input, in 2023.

Shortly after introducing the first digital collection, Nike will enable .Swoosh members to enter a community challenge to win the opportunity to co-create a virtual product with Nike. Those members can earn a royalty on the virtual product they help co-create.

Nike uses blockchain-powered technology, which is also known as “web3,” to support the .Swoosh platform. .Swoosh community members will eventually be able to wear virtual products developed on the platform in digital games and immersive experiences. In some instances, community members will be able to unlock access to physical product or events, such as conversations with athletes or designers.  

[Read more: Four recommendations for supporting metaverse commerce with blockchain]

“This approach meets consumers wherever they play and shop sport and offers a gateway into a new digital arena, said Ron Faris, GM of Nike Virtual Studios. “We are shaping a marketplace of the future with an accessible platform for the web3-curious. In this new space, the .Swoosh community and Nike can create, share, and benefit together."

 

Nike expands metaverse presence
The .Swoosh platform builds on earlier Nike metaverse initiatives. These include the company’s December 2021 acquisition of RTKFT, a company that leverages game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication, and augmented reality (AR) to create unique virtual products and experiences, including collectibles.

And in November 2021, Nike launched a proprietary virtual world called “Nikeland” on the popular Roblox digital gaming platform. Virtual buildings and fields inside Nikeland are based on the company’s real-life Beaverton, Ore., headquarters, and hold detailed arenas where Roblox players compete in various mini-games.

At launch, consumers could participate in virtual games such as tag, the floor is lava, and dodgeball with their friends. With the Nikeland tool kit, users can design their own mini-games from interactive sports materials. In addition, the Nikeland virtual experience is enhanced by real-life movement.

In December 2021, Nike offered its Nikeland Roblox virtual experience at its digitally-enabled New York House of Innovation store with a special Snapchat lens. Leveraging RKFT technology and capabilities, Nike will be able to continue developing solutions and storefronts in the metaverse.

The company is also gaining a foothold in the burgeoning non-fungible token (NFT) industry. NFTs are unique digital assets stored on a blockchain ledger which certifies the owner. There is no way for an NFT to have more than one owner, and only the certified owner can sell it.

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