Nike and Adidas make forays into the metaverse
The world’s two biggest sportswear companies are following Facebook in the metaverse.
On November 18, Nike unveiled Nikeland, an entire world designed for Nike fans to connect, create, compete and share their experiences on Roblox. Days later, adidas made two quieter leaps into the digital world, showing real estate on Sandbox while launching an exclusive digital collectible.
Nike and the metaverse
Nike becomes one of the first major brands to fully embrace the metaverse. Nikeland is a bespoke 3D world located in a digital version of its world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Nikeland’s immersive virtual space inside the Roblox gaming platform has been created for users to play, compete… and purchase Nike gear.
Participants can participate in swimming, athletics or parkour events. Among these mini-games are playground favorites like lava ground (don’t touch the ground!), Dodge ball, and tag. Users can also create their own games using simple design tools and interactive media.
Player control appears to be similar to that of the Nintendo Wii with video visitors mimicking actual movement on the controllers. Gamers activate accelerometers on mobile devices which transfer offline movement to online play. For example, according to Nike, you can perform in-game movements like long jumps or speed runs using the same real-world movements while holding your smartphone.
Nike says one of the biggest benefits of this new online world is democratic access. Nikeland offers free play, so it doesn’t matter if there’s no park or pool nearby – you can jump anywhere there’s a connection.
Competitors win “Blue Ribbons” and “Gold Medals” for competing in cyberspace. Blue ribbons bring more building materials for building and expanding personal gardens in Nikeland, and gold medals unlock virtual goods for avatars. Further exploration may reveal special Easter eggs. Of course, the games wouldn’t be complete without a price tag, and Nike uses its brand to mark everything from clothes to clouds. Player avatars can purchase and unlock various virtual clothes while they play and interact.
Immersion in Nikeland won’t be limited to smartphones, either. In December, the brand will bring Roblox Nikeland to life in its House of Innovation in New York. Using a special Snapchat lens, visitors to the children’s floor can be launched into this augmented reality to participate as real-world players.
In a related move, Nike has taken steps to protect its brand in the virtual world. According to US Patent and Trademark Office records, the apparel giant filed several new trademarks on October 27, indicating its intention to protect Nike-branded sneakers and digital clothing. These included applications for the word “Nike”, the slogan “Just Do It”, the swoosh logo, as well as the “Air Jordan” branding and the accompanying “Jumpman” logo.
While its bigger competitor has taken the plunge, adidas has taken a more measured step into the metaverse over the past two weeks.
First, The Sandbox tweeted about the famous shoe company and showed a video clip of Adidas real estate in the Sandbox metaverse.
“Hey @adidasoriginals, impossible is nothing in the metaverse. What if we invite all original thinkers and actors to design our future together?” The sandbox tweeted.
According to its website, The Sandbox is a blockchain-based virtual gaming world and “a community platform where creators can monetize voxel (cubic pixel) assets and gaming experiences.” Players usually get a square plot of digital land that they can build to attract other visitors. adidas has yet to reveal what the sportswear company will feature in its massive Sandbox plot revealed in the video tweet.
That hasn’t stopped them from removing exclusive digital content, however. The shoe giant filed a Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) to members of Adidas Confirmed – an app for drops and exclusive content, around the same time as the Sandbox disclosure. The POAP platform allows organizers to distribute crypto-badges to participants. These non-fungible tokens are also protected by the blockchain and can be exchanged for goods and services. adidas would only indicate what this token might unlock in the future.
“This digital collector’s item is our way of rewarding you for following your curiosity… this token proves you’ve been there since the start of this journey. Keep it safe – it can be useful, ”adidas wrote on the POAP website.
Continuing the air of mystery, adidas has also established an enigmatic but concrete partnership with the cryptocurrency platform Coinbase.
“We have partnered up with @coinbase. Probably nothing, ”the sportswear maker tweeted on Nov. 24.
As digital storylines reach millions of dollars and demand for virtual gear accelerates rapidly, adidas seems at least gearing up to become a major player in this all-new game.