Transforming Brand Fandom Through Gamification
Web3 has seen a steady stream of brands ramping up efforts to edge a way into the traditional gaming space to build communities and brand loyalty. Companies like Epic Games and Roblox have been partnering with well-known retail brands to bring the digital and physical worlds together. Brands have started to expand their presence to the phygital world in order to reach the millions of customers who spend time in online gaming. Here’s a look at use cases transforming brand fandom through gamification.
Nike recently debuted Airphoria in Fortnight, courtesy of Epic Games, to transport players and their friends into a visually immersive Air Max-themed universe to engage with Air Max sneakers. Airphoria items, such as the Airie and Maxxed Out Max Outfits, are now available in the Fortnite Item Shop and a real life limited Airphoria inspired collection has dropped, directly linking the virtual world of Airphoria in Fortnite with Air Max. Andrew Schwartz, Director of Metaverse Engineering at Nike, said “This project took 10+ months to bring to life and Nike is one of the first brands to use Epic Games’ UEFN (a new PC application for designing, developing, and publishing games and experiences directly into Fortnite) to launch this type of immersive experience.”
LVMH, a retail luxury clothing and jewelry brand, announced a strategic partnership with Epic Games. Nelly Mensah, VP of Digital Innovation, shared the news, stating “In a world where spatial computing, blockchain and AI begin to converge, immersive 3D experiences and digital products become an inevitable extension of physical ones. It is critical for brands to excel at Digital Craftsmanship in order to have a meaningful and client-centric presence in this space in the future.”
Roblox, a platform with over 60 million users, has historically been viewed as a platform for young kids to play, given the cartoon theme of many games and worlds on the platform. Walmart jumped into Roblox in 2022, creating Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play. Walmart Land features a variety of immersive experiences, including a virtual store of merchandise, or “verch”, for your avatar, a physics-defying Ferris wheel, and unlockable tokens and badges that can be earned in various games and competitions. The year’s best toys turn up in Walmart’s Universe of Play and the community can explore different toy worlds to earn coins for cool virtual goods, or complete epic challenges to build a personal trophy case.
Another leading brand who established a presence on Roblox is Chipotle, who launched a “Burrito Builder” game, where users can prepare entrees in a virtual store to earn “Burrito Bucks,” which can be exchanged for food at a brick-and-mortar store.
Activision Blizzard, home to some of the most beloved entertainment gaming franchises including Call of Duty®, Skylanders®, World of Warcraft®, Overwatch®, Diablo®, Candy Crush™, and Bubble Witch™, and home to a community of over 400 million players across 190 countries, is constantly shaping and moving culture. Microsoft recently purchased Activision Blizzard, and the deal is pending due to regulatory scrutiny around antitrust claims. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella says gaming “will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms” for Microsoft. If the acquisition goes through, Microsoft, which makes Xbox consoles and produces Minecraft, will become the third largest gaming company by revenue, giving it a huge boost as Microsoft looks to partner with large retail brands and enterprise companies.
Headsets for games is an evolving market, and Apple recently upped the ante with the introduction of its Vision Pro Mixed-Reality Headset, priced at $3,499. It takes the integration of the physical and digital worlds to new heights, initially targeting developers who want to build on its features. Given the steep price tag, likely it will be enterprise companies in verticals like healthcare, education, and manufacturing who will be the first generation of users.
Meta’s Quest 3 is coming in the fall of 2023 and is priced at $499. It features higher resolution, stronger performance, breakthrough Meta Reality technology, and a slimmer, more comfortable headset. It will be the first headset to feature a next-generation Snapdragon chipset developed in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies to deliver more than twice the graphical performance as the previous generation, meaning users will get smoother performance and incredibly crisp details in immersive games. At this price point, individual consumers will be the likely users.
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