The competition to get into the metaverse is heating up pretty nicely. Companies and brands have come to understand the potential in this new segment of the market, and their efforts to build on it and grow have been ramped up in the past few weeks.
With tech companies already making inroads into the metaverse, sports apparel companies are moving in next. Nike, the industry leader, has also taken the lead in this move.
What is Cooking?
The first rumblings about Nike and the metaverse came early in November. At the time, reports suggested that the company had filed for several trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The trademarks suggested Nike’s intent to sell branded apparel and sneakers in the metaverse.
The patent and trademark filings showed that Nike had filed applications for “Nike,” “Just Do It,” and its iconic swoosh logo. The company also filed applications for the famous Jumpman logo - which represents its subsidiary brand with basketball legend Michael Jordan - and the “Air Jordan” name.
Of course, it will take a while for these trademark applications to go through. Applications with the USPTO tend to move forward after a few months of their filing.
Besides the trademark filings, Nike also shared job openings related to the metaverse. A search of jobs at the company found that Nike had posted a hiring ad for a virtual material designer of footwear and several other roles in the virtual design space. The job listings explained that the roles would be within Nike’s Digital Product Creation group.
Nikeland is Here
The company eventually put all of the speculations to bed when it announced Nikeland - its dedicated metaverse built on Roblox. In a statement, Nike explained that Nikeland fits perfectly into its objective of making sports and fitness a lifestyle. The new metaverse will act as a backdrop against Nike’s global headquarters, and it will be an immersive world where people can engage in sports activities.
“The buildings and fields within Nikeland are inspired by Nike's real-life headquarters and host detailed settings for the Roblox community to put their skills to the test by competing in various mini-games," Nike said in the statement.
Gamers would need to create their online avatars, which they can control using their accelerometers on their phones. By recording their physical movements, they can participate and have full control over their avatars.
Besides engaging in sports, players will also be able to access a broad range of apparel from Nike in Nikeland. Players will be able to access a digital showroom where they can try out new kicks and gear from Nike and try them out. In some cases, apparel can be won when players compete in challenges and others.
Competition is Heating Up
While Nike is definitely going to enjoy the first-mover advantage, it is worth noting that the company will eventually face some stiff competition in the metaverse.
Most prominent is the competition from Adidas - Nike’s biggest competitor. A few days after Nike announced the launch of Nikland, Adidas announced that it had signed a partnership deal with Coinbase - one of the world’s biggest exchanges. Not many details about the partnership have come out, but that still hasn’t stopped the German sports brand.
Besides the Coinbase partnership, The Sandbox - an online game - also sent out a tweet at Adidas, offering an opportunity to help build its metaverse. The tweet included a link directing visitors to a piece of in-game land, which appears to now be owned by Adidas.
In the days since then, Adidas’ metaverse ties have only grown stronger. Early in December, the company announced a deal with several non-fungible token (NFT) brands - including GMoney NFFT, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and PUNKS Comic.
A separate article on the Adidas mobile app read that Adidas has been looking towards a new frontier for creativity for a while now - the metaverse.
“Our goal there? To see every one of its inhabitants thrive. The Metaverse is where anyone can express their most original ideas and be their most authentic selves, in whatever form they might take. And thanks to the blockchain [and NFTs], those pioneers can own a piece of what they create,” the company added.
The details about Adidas’ upcoming metaverse are still scarce. So, while Nike has gained that first-mover advantage, Adidas has the opportunity to build a product that is better than that of its competitor.
Nike and Adidas have been locked in a decades-long battle for supremacy. Both companies have competed for everything, ranging from high-end shoes to the signatures of some of the world’s biggest athletes and entertainers. Now, it would appear that the new frontier for their rivalry is the metaverse.