The footwear company takes another step into the Metaverse as Apple looks to venture into AR/VR technology and a ‘virtual environment’.
Nike has announced the launch of its metaverse marketplace .Swoosh, designed to create an inclusive digital community for Nike consumers and athletes. The footwear giant is making its third notable move towards Web3 products. While .Swoosh is first a marketplace, the metaverse platform (which will be powered by the blockchain) will allow users to connect with athletes and other consumers, buy virtual Nike products, and enjoy an immersive experience in an entirely new virtual world.
.Swoosh is currently in beta mode, and its launch is scheduled for later this month when registrations will open for interested users. Users can collect footwear and apparel products (virtual versions) and use them with their avatars on .Swoosh. Also, access to actual products and real-world events will be available in special cases.
According to Ron Faris, General Manager of Nike Virtual Studios, the company is building a marketplace of the future, with Web3 in focus, while looking to foster an environment where Nike and the community can benefit from one another. Nike will give priority to diverse communities in the US and Europe when registrations open. Also, the company plans to launch its first community-backed collection in 2023, with plans to encourage co-creation and monetization through royalties.
.Swoosh is Nike’s first independent foray into the metaverse. The company has not been shy to embrace the emerging technologies of Web3, acquiring RTFKT, a digital creator of virtual sneakers, collectibles, and accessories, in 2021, and filing seven trademark applications before the acquisition. A partnership with Roblox brought forth Nikeland, and hiring Dantley Davis (the ex-Twitter chief designer officer) was another strong declaration of the company’s intent.
In other news, while it appears technology giant Apple has shut down hardware production for the year, rumors have it that the company is gearing toward a big release. According to several reports, Apple will roll out its VR/AR headset soon, with a debut expected in 2023, likely at its first spring event. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, declared that AR/VR is the ‘next big thing’ in tech, suggesting it would be the company’s next port of call.
Yet, it does not appear that Apple seeks to stop at AR/VR headsets, with plans for a three-dimensional mixed reality world in the works. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also reports that Apple is searching for talent in metaverse technology, although the company will not name their 3D world a metaverse.
Recent job listings by Apple suggest these reports are right on track, with the company building a virtual environment similar to Meta’s metaverse. While Apple is yet to confirm these reports, the AR/VR headsets seem like the first step in this direction, and with Apple’s reputation, one cannot put it past the company to build its metaverse.
Google also appears set to join the AR/VR headset market, making them the third American tech giant to venture into the metaverse and the future of virtual reality. If, indeed, the Metaverse is the next big thing, time will tell.