5 of the best experiences in Nike’s metaverse

Sports brand’s Nike’s metaverse space, Nikeland, has had almost 7 million people visit so far. But what are they interacting with when there? We look at the best experiences from the virtual world.

Built in Roblox, Nikeland allows players to interact with Nike-branded virtual goods through activities and games. It is one of the most visible and most successful executions to date – in part because it plays to Roblox’s strengths as a primarily gaming platform.

On its recent earnings call, Nike’s chief executive and president Jack Donahoe explained how the company has been driving consumers to the platform, saying: “During NBA All-Star Week, LeBron James visited Nikeland on Roblox to inspire its community towards physical movement in play."

“On the Nikeland court, LeBron coached and engaged with players, and participants were rewarded for physical gameplay with the ability to unlock virtual products. We plan to continue driving energy there with virtual products like LeBron 19 styles special to Roblox.”

Here’s how players of the Nikeland experience are interacting with the brand through games.

Freebies

Upon first entering the virtual showroom within Nikeland, players have the option of picking up a Nike-branded cap and backpack for free. While this runs the risk of potentially making all players look the same, it also means Nike can count on a solid number of avatars displaying its logo.

Competition

Beyond those few free items there are a number of other Nike-branded pieces of virtual apparel that mirror their real-world counterparts. From a brand perspective, getting users to pay a virtual currency (‘medals’) to buy the right to wear your logo is a huge opportunity. For the players, the ability to show off how medal-rich you are is an incentive in and of itself. In-game scoreboards display the high-scores of the players who have outperformed others.

Jump Jump Jump

Nikeland’s big pitch to players is that it includes games – without which it would be a sterile environment and probably not as successful. In addition to the virtual recreations of real-world sports, it also includes more fantastical activities like Jump Jump Jump, which tests player reaction and strategy as they try to outlast fellow players on falling platforms. To encourage repeat visits, Nike has made sure that by checking in every day, players unlock other goodies.

Customizing your Yard

Nikeland is also catering to the creative impulses of its players. Roblox – and other nascent metaverse platforms, like Minecraft and Fortnite Creative – allow users to customize not just their avatars but also sections of the world. This, and the ability to share those creations, lie at the heart of the appeal of metaverse platforms. Nikeland allows its users to add sporting items and goods to their Yard.

Unreality

It wouldn’t be a game if it wasn’t fun to traverse. The Nikeland experience has portals, slides, a Nike-branded hoverboard… it can be strange to see realistically modeled Nike products in that deliberately colorful and unrealistic environment, but that’s far from the only time that games have dabbled in that collision of real and unreal.