A way back to NFTs
UPDATE: Nike’s announcement of their partnership with Fortnite is expanding on all the stuff below. Blending in-game equity like character outfits, with real world merchandise, and a connection between Epic and Nike accounts enabling achievements within .Swoosh. The launch page on Unreal talks about the partnership between Nike and Unreal with everything being built in Unreal Engine for Fortnite (UEFN).
ORIGINAL: Nike announced their .Swoosh platform in a fairly ambiguous way back in November as a “web3-enabled platform that champions athletes and serves the future of sport by creating a new, inclusive digital community and experience and a home for Nike virtual creations.”
I’ve always been a fan of Nike’s slightly abstract integration of atheticism and technology, like the Fuel band and their partnerships with Apple Watch. But it’s really interesting to see them embrace this new web3 space from both a community perspective as well as with digital-products, it’s in line with their focus on first party retail and quotes like this one from their CFO Andy Campion…
“Our vision is to create direct, unbreakable relationships with our consumers. And we know the most direct connection is through the mobile device they carry with them everywhere they go.”
Instead of relying on third parties over which they have little control, and who will always be taking a slice of the pie, their focus on making and integrating every part of their ecosystem is an interesting one. And it’s one that web3 is going to enable unlike previous digital equity platforms.
Last year the gaming world was incensed by the idea that NFTs were going to infiltrate and undermine their games. The problem is, the communities backlash was due to the connotation of NFTs with the hypecycle within which they were swirling at the time. But as that storm is passing, we’re able to quietly build on the promise that blockchain can offer for these experiences; Enter the Swoosh.
Basically, an NFT is just a file that you own that other people can’t just replicate and use. So when you buy your Nike Vapor Edge cleats IRL, the digital version shows up on your .Swoosh account. Then you can fire up Madden and there they are in your locker. Or Fortnite, or Decentraland, or Horizon Worlds (now that people have legs).
So this partnership with EA is right on brand, and as long as they don’t utter the three-letters-of-doom in relation to these “digital items” I think we’ll start to see people trading digital sneakers on .Swoosh in no time.