Can the virtual running shoes that can’t run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

To run or not to run? This is a problem

On March 20, domestic sports brand Xtep released a special product: a pair of digital running shoes called 160X-Metaverse. This pair of virtual running shoes, priced as high as 1,603 yuan, limited to 321 pairs on the entire network, and only exists in the blockchain digital space, was sold out 70 minutes after its release, showing the strong appeal of NFT in the running shoe category.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ © Xtep Sports Official Account

This is not the first time that running shoes have entered the virtual world. Many brands at home and abroad have already released a lot of virtual running shoes. Can these ever-changing running shoes make the brand run out of new tricks?

01 NFT running shoes, the new favorite of sports brands

Like the special step into the Metaverse, Nike, Li Ning and other head sports brands have successfully attracted a wave of attention to the layout of NFT before.

In December 2021, Nike acquired the encrypted trendy brand RTFKT Studios: a company integrating fashion trends, AR and VR games. Shortly after this acquisition, RTFKT Studios launched a collaborative running shoe with 18-year-old crypto artist Fewocious earlier this year.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ © Bing

There are three types of NFT running shoes, priced at $3,000, 5,000 and $10,000 respectively. All 621 pairs of shoes were sold out within 7 minutes of being put on the shelves, and RTFKT Studios and Fewocious made a net profit of $3.1 million.At present, the price of a pair of RTFKT NFT shoes is about 10 Ethereum (170,000 yuan), which is 100 times the price of high-end Nike shoes. It can be said to be a successful attempt.

As a top domestic sports brand, Li Ning also did not miss this upsurge, and released an NFT version of “Enlightenment” in September last year. This is also the first time that a domestic sports brand has auctioned sneaker artwork in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFT). 

On September 20 last year, Wade exposed a pair of “Wade new sneakers” through his personal social media account. The designer was Zhou Shijie, chief designer of Li Ning Wade shoes.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ © Sina

After the photo of this NFT running shoe was released, it quickly attracted the collective attention of the trend media and blockchain media, and set a record transaction price of 1,127,000 yuan a few days later.

It seems that the sale of NFT running shoes seems to be a sure-fire marketing method, but in fact, not every sale can be a great success.

Unlike many people’s impressions, ASICS, who has always shown a conservative image, was the first brand to launch NFT sneakers. In mid-July last year, Arthur launched 9 NFT running shoes on OpenSea, each with 20 NFT limited editions and 1 gold limited edition.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ © Website Screenshot

However, unlike the various popular NFT running shoes mentioned above, this series of running shoes has only sold 43 pairs even half a year after its release – of course, all the gold versions were sold.

 And a little embarrassingly, despite the list price being 2 ETH (about $8,838), the actual average selling price of these 43 pairs of shoes was 0.46 ETH (about $1,400), which was far lower than the original list price. Compared with those brands above, such sales figures are stretched thin: this may be the price of the first crab?

02 Virtual running shoes, how to play

Since the expected effect is not achieved every time, for various sports brands, what can the release of NFT for running shoes bring in addition to a wave of brand popularity?

If you want to start this wave of imagination, you must first go back to the communication Metaverse product released last month: Super QQ Show.

Since it is called Super QQ Show, its core gameplay is naturally still dress-up, but changed to a 3D form. However, this provides an imaginary space for the Metaverse after the gameplay and technology are mature: the clothing in the Metaverse will eventually become an existence as important as physical clothing. 

Regarding the possible future gameplay, the public account of the Alpha Factory Research Institute proposed the idea in the article “Xtep: The First Step Towards the Metaverse”:

How to play 1: When selling physical products, you will get NFT as a gift

In fact, even if the Metaverse era has not yet arrived, NFTs already have many innovative ways of combining virtual and real. For example, Tencent’s digital collection platform Huanhe once cooperated with cosmetics manufacturers to present the corresponding digital collections to consumers who purchased cosmetics of designated styles, which can be displayed and shared through Moments.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ Gucci launches virtual sneakers © Bing

Based on this buy-one-get-one-free gameplay, interesting gameplays such as synthesis and airborne can also be introduced in the future, so that consumers have more possibilities to participate in brand communication and repurchase.

Further, when the digital collection platform is connected with social platforms such as QQ, WeChat, Weibo, etc., these donated digital collections can be turned into display objects on social networks, which are equivalent to the display and proof of the physical goods purchased by oneself.

When I buy a pair of the latest running shoes, I can show the digital collection that comes with the running shoes to others in the circle of friends, and use the blockchain to prove that the shoes are indeed what I bought.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ The running shoes launched by Xtep this time © Xtep Sports Official Public Account

Game 2: Customize a virtualized digital collection for the Metaverse

Xtep’s digital collection this time belongs to the second kind of gameplay, a pair of virtual goods with various cool visual effects that only exist in virtual space. Although this pair of shoes can only be displayed on the own platform of “Bu Nebula” at this stage.

It can be expected that in the future, Xtep will definitely seek to connect with other Metaverses and social networks, so that this pair of running shoes can be worn and used in Super QQ Show, Meta Horizon Worlds and other similar Metaverse environments. This is an inevitable development. direction.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ Gucci’s virtual sneaker try-on © Bing

In this case, the trendy brand manufacturers that originally only provided physical goods are equivalent to changing themselves into developers of Metaverse game props, and can enjoy the dividends of digital entertainment business similar to game developers.

How to play three: From the world of the Metaverse, from the virtual to the real, the reverse output

This is a more imaginative way to play. The aforementioned encrypted fashion brand RTFKT, which was acquired by Nike, is a representative of this kind of gameplay: RTFKT not only designs and generates NFT sneaker products, but also makes some specific NFT sneakers into physical objects in the physical world and provides them to NFT owners. , which realizes the reverse output from virtual to reality.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ RTFKT previous design © Bing

In this model, the boundaries between physical goods and digital virtual goods are further blurred. A product may have both virtual and real forms at the same time, and can be switched at any time according to the needs of consumers to meet the wearing needs of different online and offline scenarios.

Under this brand-new consumption model, product design no longer exists as a pre-process of product production. On the contrary, the production of physical objects may only be one of the value output methods of the design scheme, and the value subject of commodities is no longer in the physical world. Physical objects, but digital assets protected by NFT.

Physical objects are just a derivative of digital assets, just like game peripherals.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ © Bing

It can be said that under the huge imagination of the future, the exploration of the Metaverse by sports brands has just begun. But whether these brands can carry out long-term exploration, or just follow the trend, there are doubts.

03 Do brands really rely on virtual running shoes?

Although there are already many brands scrambling to get involved with the Metaverse, when NFTs are actually released, they tend to remain relatively calm: after all, the hype effect of NFTs at this stage is greater than the actual effect of the brand. 

In a previous interview conducted by Rilakkuma Sports, an executive of a high-end outdoor brand in China said: NFT is more like a hype concept in the luxury industry to increase the added value of products and attract consumers’ attention.Its own brand will still innovate at the physical level rather than the virtual level.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ ASICS has planned to release new NFT running shoes © Sogou

An executive of a domestic sports brand believes that NFT products are not suitable for Chinese consumers at this stage, and domestic brands will not invest blindly.

 However, compared with the steady style that the management is used to, the designer is more excited. A domestic sports brand designer named Jay said that he can complete his own imaginative design in virtual design without being restricted by materials, which may It’s every shoe designer’s dream. Optimistically speaking, it was an era of creativity; pessimistically speaking, maybe everyone could be a designer.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ © Bing

Even if we have a tentative and tolerant attitude towards NFTs, the chicken feathers after the hype again and again have shown that this Internet-based technology is deviating from its own value.

Of course, these companies with tens of billions of dollars in revenue do not care about the gains and losses of these ticket-playing NFTs. According to the revenue in recent years, the operating conditions of the brands mentioned above are still stable:

From 2019 to 2021, Xtep’s annual revenue was 8.183 billion yuan, 8.172 billion yuan, and 10.013 billion yuan;

From 2019 to 2021, Nike’s annual revenue was 391.22, 374.20, and 44.493 billion US dollars;

From 2019 to 2021, Li Ning’s annual revenue was 13.870 billion yuan, 14.457 billion yuan, and 22.572 billion yuan;

From 2019 to 2021, ASICS’ annual revenue was 3,781, 3,287.84, and 404,082 million yen in sequence;

It can be seen that after the small fluctuations under the influence of the epidemic in 2020, the sales of these brands have achieved substantial growth in 2021: from the perspective of reversing revenue, virtual running shoes do not seem to be a must. After losing the drive of economic interests, the exploration of the Metaverse by sports brands is likely to only stop at this step.

Can the virtual running shoes that can't run out of the Metaverse make the brand run out of new tricks?

📸️ Other designs by RTFKT © Bing

But not everyone lacks enthusiasm for this. For some collectors who use physical running shoes as an investment to buy physical running shoes, virtual running shoes can naturally become collectibles: like physical running shoes, most NFT running shoes also have broad appreciation. space.

In this case, how much consumer interest in NFT running shoes is driven by the desire to acquire running shoes, rather than because of the potential investment value of NFTs, is debatable.

After all, the direct benefits that running shoe NFTs can bring to brands are very limited, but the benefits they bring to hype guests are considerable: just like various other popular NFT series before. 

From this perspective, running shoe NFTs don’t seem to be any different.

However, for most ordinary consumers, they don’t care about or even reject these hype-like concepts. After all, when everyone escapes from the indiscriminate bombardment of NFT and Metaverse concepts, all they need is a pair of running shoes without routines.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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