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Nike to take customers into the metaverse with 'NIKELAND'

Sneaker giant's virtual world has been built on the Roblox platform

Nike has become one of the first major brands to enter the "metaverse" with a virtual world modeled after its headquarters launched on video game platform Roblox. 

'Nikeland' is free for anyone to visit, provided you have a Roblox account and allows consumers to create an avatar they can decorate with real Nike products. Once inside the virtual space, users can play games like tag, the Floor is Lava, and Dodgeball, as well as ones designed by creators. 

The avatars are controlled by accelerometers in users' mobile devices which transfer offline movement to online play. Nike suggests this allows real-life movement in the digital space. 

Since Facebook announced its metaverse plans in October, the idea has become one of the biggest buzzwords in tech with companies such as Microsoft also talking up plans for virtual worlds. Globally, the metaverse market is expected to bring in over $6 billion for 2021 and more than $40 billion by 2026, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. 

"Nike created this bespoke world with the backdrop of its world headquarters and inside Roblox's immersive 3D space, building on its goal to turn sport and play into a lifestyle," the sportswear maker said.

The virtual world will also offer rewards with blue ribbons and gold medals for various tasks and challenges, such as finding 'Easter eggs'. What's more, the blue ribbons can be used to gain more building materials for users to develop their own personal spaces - called 'yards' - whereas gold medals can unlock new Nike products.

Nike's virtual world will also be brought to life at the company's New York hub with a special Snapchat lens. This will allow people visiting the kids' floor of the store to walk into an augmented reality version, which will include signature avatars, games, and Nikeland Easter egg hunts. 

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