Online multiplayer game or marketplace?
Virtual things for real money
Gucci’s digital bag sold for $4,000, almost double the price of the physical original. Why so expensive? Who needs things you can’t wear?
The first virtual clothes appeared with computer games. And it quickly became apparent that players were willing to pay for digital “bows” with real money. So, in the game 2007, “Sims 2: Style H & M,” it has already been possible to try on sims latest models of the Swedish fashion giant.
Digital fashion, for many years, evolved mainly in games. It has become a part of the market skins, that is, changes in the hero’s appearance. It is introducing paid skins — one of the most common ways to monetize the game. For example, in the universe of Fortnite, where there are already 250 million registered users, every month sell skins for 220 million pounds. According to predictions service Statista, in 2022, the global market for skins will reach a volume of 36 billion pounds, that is 3.66 trillion rubles.
But in 2020, digital wearables are no longer something aimed solely at gamers. Because of the pandemic and lockdown, work, shows, and friendly parties have all gone online. It was about fashion in the pre-Vision world: office attire and going-out clothes were carefully chosen. It helped set the mood for the work day or get more fun out of the event. In quarantine, alternatives to real bows were augmented reality elements — masks and social media filters.
In response, retailers began to develop AR direction actively. Many brands had such developments even before the pandemic. For example, L’Oreal launched a service in 2018 that allows you to “try on” lipstick or hair dye online. And Burberry integrated augmented reality into the mobile version of the Google search engine. Users who searched for the brand’s products from their smartphones could see them right next to them, estimate their actual size, walk around them and look at them from all angles.
The accelerated development of technology against the backdrop of covid constraints has led to the fact that in 2021 the idea of “putting” digital clothes on an actual image no longer seems strange. Not only gamers but also ordinary users of social networks are ready to pay for virtual things now. There are several times more potential customers, and clothing manufacturers have already noticed.
Business Model of the Future
The peculiarity of digital fashion as a business model is that it quickly reflects changing trends and closes consumer needs. The speed of product development within programs and the absence of the need to reshape samples or restart collections, which is inherent in the production of real things, play a role here.
With the emergence of NFT (a tool for making money in the digital environment), the attitude to the phenomenon of digital fashion has changed: there are collectors of virtual clothes, the demand of the audience has increased, and with it, the cost of goods. You can see how much they already make on digital items on the Replicant website. Recently, for example, the marketplace sold $30,000 worth of merchandise in a week.
And if today there is still room for doubt on the seriousness of the digital closet, in 5–10 years, the line between virtual and objective will be erased. The pandemic experience has shown that putting your physical life on hold and settling down at home for a few days to weeks is entirely possible. At the same time, virtual life cannot be put on hold. There is an assumption that in a few years, digital clothes will overtake real clothes in demand.
Could it be the other way around?
Yes, and yes again!
A popular MMO game can become a digital apparel marketplace, generating revenue, part of which can go to crypto players or for the sustainability of the economy and not necessarily focus only on apparel. If we create an open, immersive economy connected to the real world, authentic brands should appear in virtual spaces and vice versa.
Brands born in virtual worlds can enter the physical goods market. Drinks to increase energy, like energy, etc. We believe that games and the meta world are the keys to a post-retail environment in which the concept of OMNI will be inextricably linked to commerce in games. Brands will simply have to incorporate this into their growth strategy. If you’re not in the digital worlds, your model is not OMNI.
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