Nike to partner with Fortnite for next Web3 venture, teaser reveals

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In a recent teaser, Footwear and apparel giant Nike signals a collaboration involving its .SWOOSH NFT platform with the popular game Fortnite for an “ultimate Sneakerhunt” event called “Airphoria,” scheduled to begin on June 20.

According to the game statistics website Active Player, Fortnite is boasting over 242.9 million active players in the past 30 days. This move from Nike is expected to serve as a major catalyst for Web3 adoption among traditional gamers.

The “Airphoria” promotional video features the logos of Fortnite and Nike’s Air Max among the clouds, as well as the .SWOOSH NFT platform logo and the Unreal Engine logo from Epic Games. Unreal Engine is a game engine developed by Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite.

There has yet to be any detail from Nike and Epic Games about the collaboration. However, gaming, sneaker enthusiasts and members of the NFT community believe there is a possibility that Nike’s NFT platform will be integrated with Fortnite.

“NFTs coming to @FortniteGame? That Nike logo at the end is from Nike’s @dotSWOOSH web3 platform,” wrote Twitter user chrisakvn.

“Great catch with the @dotSWOOSH reference. @FortniteGame integration would be the biggest thing that’s ever happened with NFTs,” replied Triple Helix Advisors Matt Jalazo.

Some even speculated that Nike may have created an NFT-related game using Fortnite Creative 2.0, a feature allowing users to create virtual island game maps using Fortnite assets.

“I remember that Fortnite recently launched Fortnite Creative 2.0, which has a strong self-built map mode similar to creating games on ROBLOX. I guess Nike may have used this mode to create a game. Two years ago, Nike also created a game on ROBLOX, but it was not combined with NFT[s] at that time,” wrote Twitter user close_news_cn.

Nike’s collaborations in the gaming space

The collaboration with Fortnite is not Nike’s first venture in the traditional gaming space. Two years ago, the sports and retail company launched Nikeland on the online gaming platform and virtual universe Roblox. Within two months, the virtual world garnered over seven million visitors.

“Evergreen experiences on Roblox – such as Gucci Town, Vans World and Nikeland – keep players coming back because they have created engaging social spaces with ongoing content updates where fans can discover new products in authentic and interactive ways,” explained Roblox head of fashion and beauty partnerships Winnie Burke.

Nikeland was launched in partnership with the metaverse agency RTKFT, allowing users to play games, explore Nike-branded environments and purchase virtual goods.

Nikeland has been a massive success, with over 21 million visitors and 118,000 favorites on Roblox last September. Nike’s digital results, which include Nikeland, now represent 26 percent of its total Nike brand revenue.

Then on June 1, Nike revealed its plans to integrate several virtual collections from its platform .SWOOSH into games developed by EA Sports.

EA Sports is a division of Electronic Arts, renowned for creating popular gaming franchises like Apex Legends, Madden NFL and FIFA Soccer, among others. There is still no info regarding which EA Sports games will feature the virtual creation.

On Friday, Nike announced its newest partnership with Fortnite. Released in 2017, the game is available on many devices, including Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Android, PC and Apple devices.

This Epic Games’ shooter game has generated substantial revenue by selling digital items in collaboration with various entertainment, fashion and gaming brands. These items, such as character and weapon “skins,” allow players to customize their appearance within the game.

It is worth noting that these items are limited to the Fortnite ecosystem. They cannot be resold or used in other games or online worlds.

In contrast, NFTs are freely tradeable, serving as composable blockchain assets. This means other games and online platforms may also be able to support and use these items.

Traditional game industry’s response to NFTs

The traditional gaming industry has not been very accepting of the adoption of NFTs compared to the retail and fashion industry. Some fans maintain that NFTs are driven by greed and do not enhance the gaming experience or foster fan engagement.

For example, in December 2021, Ubisoft announced plans to introduce NFTs in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint. However, the company faced criticism and backlash from the gaming community.

These reasons explain why EA Sports has hesitated to use the term “NFT.” At the same time, CEO Andrew Wilson insists that NFTs will play a significant role in the future of gaming.

His stance is supported by a study by NFT gaming platform Balthazar, which found that 33 percent of respondents would quit their jobs to play games if they could earn a living from them. This finding suggests that NFTs could potentially attract more players should these items enter the mainstream market.

There are currently many Web3 games in the market, but the number of players is still far below its Web2 counterpart. Alien Worlds, a popular Web3 game, has only 1.9 percent of Minecraft’s player base.

According to CoinGecko, in 2023, Alien Worlds has an estimated 230,978 unique active wallets playing the game daily, compared to 11,900,543 people playing Minecraft.

The large gap shows that the blockchain gaming sector is still in its early stages. Even the most successful Web3 game hasn’t captured a significant market share.

As Web3 games are not seen as a major threat yet, leading traditional video game companies still have mixed reactions to blockchain adoption. On the one hand, game distributor Steam has banned NFT games on its platform. On the other, Epic Games has published several crypto games.

In traditional games, players do not own the in-game assets they purchase. Instead, they earn a license to use these assets within the game. The system is centralized and the ownership remains in the company, which means players cannot sell or trade these assets outside of the game.

Meanwhile, NFTs are digital assets that can be bought, sold and traded on blockchain-based marketplaces. Players can truly own and do with them as they please.

NFTs can also bring transparency to the gaming industry by providing players with information about the rarity, authenticity and scarcity of in-game assets. Such information can help players make informed decisions about which assets to purchase and sell, mitigating fraud and abuse risks in the gaming market.


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