Nike has officially taken its first step into the metaverse. The brand announced the arrival of a virtual world, called Nikeland, made in partnership with online gaming platform Roblox. Nikeland is modeled after the brand’s real headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, and includes Nike buildings, fields, and arenas for players to compete in various minigames.
Just a few weeks ago, Nike filed trademark applications for its most famous branding — including “Nike,” “Just Do It,” Jordan,” “Air Jordan,” its Swoosh logo, its Jumpman logo, and a stylized combination of its name and Swoosh — to use on various virtual products. Within Nikeland, these trademarks have presumably been put to use on an array of Nike apparel worn by Roblox avatars. Classic sneakers like the Air Force 1 can be worn by users alongside apparel staples like ACG and Nike Tech Pack.
How to play — Nikeland was built with a goal of turning sport and play into a lifestyle, Nike wrote in its announcement. To play within the digital world, people must use accelerometers in their mobile devices, which will use real-world movements to power online play. Motions in real life, for example, will translate to the virtual world to pull off in-game moves like long jumps or speed runs.
Within Nikeland, users can test their skills by competing in various mini-games. As of now, the online gaming platform offers tag, “the floor is lava,” and dodgeball, but a Nikeland tool kit allows users to design their own mini-games from interactive sports materials. In the digital world, creativity is encouraged: Players are rewarded with Blue Ribbons and Gold Medals for competing in yards, building their yard, exploring, and finding Easter eggs. Blue Ribbons are used to get building materials for yards, and Gold Medals unlock virtual products for avatars.
Digital drip — A digital showroom lets users dress their virtual selves in Nike’s latest (digital) products. The brand’s Air Force 1, Nike Blazer, Air Force 1 Fontanka, and Air Max 2021 are available within the game alongside an exclusive Roblox design of the Mercurial football boot. Apparel from Nike’s ACG and Tech Pack lines help complete the look, and just as users can design their own mini-games, we anticipate that Nike will offer customizable clothing within Nikeland soon. The brand has already filed the trademark for more digital sneakers.
As the metaverse becomes a new forefront for retail, Nike is one of many brands hoping to connect with younger generations through gaming and virtual reality. Digital digs are one thing, but they can (and will) eventually translate into real-world sales.
Nike already plans to bring “the immersive world of Roblox and Nikeland” to life at Nike’s House of Innovation (HOI) in New York City next month. With a special Snapchat lens, people will be able to view the HOI’s kid floor as an augmented reality version of Nikeland, including its signature avatars, games, and Nikeland-inspired Easter eggs to find.
As of now, Nikeland is free to play on Roblox — a move towards accessibility in sports, Nike says. More athlete and product integrations are expected soon within the online gaming platform, however, and owning the latest Nike sneakers — even virtually — won’t be cheap.