Nike are aiming to further their footprint in the metaverse with the creation of a new division dubbed 'Nike Virtual Studios'. Announced by CEO John Donahoe in an internal email last week, the branch will be led by Ron Faris, the current VP of SNKRS.
'We have created Nike Virtual Studios, a new division that will operate as an independent studio to build our business around virtual products while also partnering with our core business to deliver best-in-class Web3, Metaverse, and blockchain-based experiences', Donahoe stated in the email, first shared by Complex's Brendan Dunne. 'Nike Virtual Studios will have creative hubs in both Los Angeles and New York to serve and grow the creative community in these key cities'.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early days of 2020, Nike has been revamping their business model, tightening wholesale accounts while focusing more and more on in-house digital sales and direct-to-consumer revenue, both of which have grown rapidly in the past two years. The announcement of the new Virtual Studios division follows Nike's acquisition of NFT studio RTFTK (which will operate under the Virtual Studios umbrella), plus trademark applications for the use of Nike branding on digital goods and a partnership with Roblox that resulted in Nikeland, a Swooshified virtual world.
'I’m excited about Ron’s leadership in this role given his proven success innovating and scaling our SNKRS business alongside many cross-functional partners and geographies, and his commitment to our diverse community of Nike athletes', Donahoe continued in his email. Faris will also continue to lead the SNKRS team until his role there is filled.
Nike isn't the only brand that sees the metaverse as the next frontier: adidas have worked with ,Bored Ape Yacht Club and made crowd-sourced NFTs in partnership with Prada, while New Balance recently filed three trademark applications for virtual products. Be sure to keep it locked to SF for updates as brands continue to jockey for pole position in the digital world!