Nike has created a virtual world on the Roblox online gaming platform, NIKELAND, that enables fans of the brand “to connect, create, share experiences and compete.”

Players dress up their avatars in Nike-branded footwear, apparel and backpacks while competing in mini-games, such as “Tag,” “Dodgeball” and “The Floor Is Lava.” A NIKELAND tool kit enables creators to design their own mini-games from interactive sports materials.

The applications take advantage of the accelerometers built into mobile devices to transfer users’ offline movement to online play. Nike writes, “For example, you can move your device and body IRL to pull off cool in-game moves like long jumps or speed runs.”

Players are rewarded with Blue Ribbons (that get them building materials) and Gold Medals (that unlock virtual products for avatars) for competing in yards, building their yard, exploring and finding Easter eggs.

The game includes a digital showroom that allows players to outfit their avatar with special Nike products. At Nike’s House of Innovation (HOI) store in New York City, a Snapchat lens transforms the kids’ floor into an AR-version of NIKELAND.

In a statement, Nike said NIKELAND, which is free, builds on its “goal to turn sport and play into a lifestyle” that was launched with the Nike Playlist YouTube series.

Sam Poser, a Williams Trading analyst, sees NIKELAND as a way for Nike to reach younger kids and capture insights. Mr. Poser told CNBC, “If they know a bunch of kids are wearing it on NIKELAND, then they will then come out with it in the physical world.”

Although no reference was made to the potential to sell NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in the game, reports arrived in early November that Nike had filed for numerous trademark applications indicating its intent to make and sell virtual branded sneakers and apparel.

Nike becomes one of the first major brands to stake out territory in the metaverse. The mixed-reality vision has lately earned significant exposure with announcements from Facebook and Microsoft.

Dyson last week introduced a virtual-reality showroom accessible through Oculus headsets that lets consumers test hairdryers, straighteners and styles from their homes.


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