- Sports apparel brand Nike has signaled its intention to enter the metaverse after it purchased an NFT sneaker studio.
- The purchase comes after the shoe giants have previously made attempts to trademark their slogans in the virtual worlds.
- Adidas, a close competitor, had taken similar steps at getting a foothold in the metaverse.
The metaverse is here and there is no denying it as top brands are jockeying for a spot in it. Nike is the latest global brand to stake its claim in the metaverse following the purchase of RTFKT studios.
The Lines Are Falling In Place For Nike
Nike announced that it had purchased RTFKT Studios, a digital art agency focused on the creation of sneaker NFTs. The collectible creators leveraged the Ethereum blockchain and caught the eye of the sportswear brand, Nike. The exact amount of the purchase remains unknown to the general public but it is a clear statement of intent that the company intends to be a leading player in the metaverse.
“The acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming, and culture,” said Nike’s President John Donahoe. “Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”
Since RTFKT’s launch in 2020, by the trio of Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le, and Steven Vasilev, the company has stood in a class apart to create distinct virtual products and experiences for users. The company leverages augmented reality, blockchain tech, and game engines for the unique offerings that it puts out.
“This is a unique opportunity to build the RTFKT brand and we are excited to benefit from Nike’s foundational strength and expertise to build the communities we love,” says Benoit Pagotto.
Last month, Nike grabbed the bull by the horn and launched by filing seven trademark applications with the U.S patent and Trademark Office. The shoe brand is also hiring to fill up its team following the publication of the vacancy of virtual material designers of footwear within the broader Digital Product Creation Group. In November, the company partnered with Roblox to launch Nikeland, a virtual rendition of its headquarters.
The Other Brands In The Race
Adidas, a close competitor with Nike unveiled partnerships with Coinbase and NFT collection, Bored Ape Yacht Club as it dug its heels to enter the space. The brand had also made similar moves to register trademarks for virtual goods like Nike.
“The Metaverse is currently one of the most exciting developments in digital, making it an interesting platform for Adidas,” said a spokesperson.
Last month, Adidas revealed that it had purchased a parcel of land in Sandbox for an undisclosed sum that sent ripples through the ecosystem. Conversations about the metaverse reached a fervent pitch after Facebook underwent a rebrand to Meta and unveiled its detailed plans to go all-in into the virtual world.