After dominating the real-world sportswear market, Nike is ready to conquer the virtual world with the recent unveiling of their all-digital “NIKELAND” on the Roblox gaming platform.
The video game store is modeled after the company’s Oregon headquarters and allows players to play rounds of “Tag,” “The Floor is Lava,” and “Dodgeball” with their online avatars. Participants can also design their own mini-games using interactive sports gear.
“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,” the company said in an official press release.
More importantly for the sportswear giant, gamers can outfit their avatars with digital brand merchandise like hats, shirts, cleats, and of course, sneakers.
“Experience global football in an official Roblox colorway of the Mercurial football boot,” the press release reads. “Gear up in classics like the Air Force 1 and Nike Blazer and in new drops like the Air Force 1 Fontanka and the Air Max 2021. All can be found in the digital showroom, along with a host of other Nike apparel staples like ACG and Nike Tech Pack.”
Players can earn these products by collecting Gold Medals in NIKELAND. That requires completing competitions, building up yards, exploring, and finding Easter eggs. Additionally, Nike fans can purchase any of the exclusive apparel in the digital showroom.
The company is also creating an augmented reality experience in its flagship store in New York to merge the digital and physical realities. “Nike’s commitment to inspiring the advancement and innovation of the future of sports experiences will continue this December when the brand brings the immersive world of Roblox and NIKELAND to life at Nike’s HOI (House of Innovation) in New York.”
Using a Snapchat filter, people visiting the kids’ floor there will be able to “see the space transformed into an augmented reality version of NIKELAND, including its signature avatars, fun games to play, and NIKELAND-inspired Easter eggs to find.”
The Roblox foray could prove to be a lucrative new branch of the company’s revenue streams. The global metaverse market is forecasted to produce over $6 billion in 2021. Some experts believe it could reach $41 billion within another five years.
Further evidence that Nike is planning to build up their virtual reality presence can be found on their job boards. With an October 23rd job listing for a “Virtual Material Designer of Footwear” among other virtual design roles, the company is calling for a “Digital Product Creation group” that will focus on “igniting the digital and virtual revolution at Nike.”
The athletic wear brand is also taking steps to protect their intellectual property in the broader metaverse. In late October 2021, the company filed seven applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, among which were the terms “Nike,” “Air Jordan,” “Jumpman,” the brand’s slogan “Just Do It,” and its iconic swoosh logo.
Having ownership of their catchphrases and names will help them police the use of their intellectual property across the many digital universes that are exploding in popularity across the globe.