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Sports apparel giant Nike’s blockchain and digital wearables division, .Swoosh, said Friday that it will push further into the video game space in the coming year—but it’s unclear if its future gaming activations will necessarily involve NFTs.
“A virtual product’s value should be based on the enjoyment it gives you when using it to express yourself or unlocking access to a physical product. It’s more about the joy of collecting—of being a true fan—not just a transaction,” Nike’s .Swoosh wrote in a blog post.
“In the next year, you’ll see this come to life,” the post continued. “We’ll go way deeper into video gaming with the launch of a new line of virtual products—Nike In-Game Wearables. In-Game Wearables are different than our digital collectibles (like OF1) because you can purchase and wear these collections directly in your favorite video games.”
Collectors of these future in-game wearables won’t need crypto wallets, according to the post, adding that all gamers will need is to link their game accounts. But it’s unclear if these upcoming wearables will be NFTs or not.
Nike, who has been in the blockchain space through its RTFKT acquisition and .Swoosh platform for a couple years now, has been careful about the phrasing of its digital items in the past—and hasn’t always released its digital items on the blockchain.
While .Swoosh previously released tons of digital sneaker NFTs on Polygon and a 2023 announcement suggested possible EA Sports and Fortnite NFT collabs, the Fortnite tie-in turned out to be a digital collectibles push that doesn't use the blockchain.
In its Friday blog post, Nike distinguishes between its “digital collectibles” or NFTs and “in-game wearables” as inherently different things, which could mean that the latter aren’t crypto-related (but could, rather, be more like its Fortnite collaboration).
The post does add, however, that owners of Nike digital collectibles (NFTs) will be able to move those items to personal crypto wallets later this year, adding that this option will allow NFT collectors to trade their Nike NFTs on “marketplaces that guarantee royalties to creators” (meaning, ahem, Nike and its affiliated artists).
“Building our own marketplace could distract from our product creation and storytelling,” Nike added, implying that the company won’t be starting its own NFT marketplace now or in the future.
It may be confusing to some, then, that not every Nike .Swoosh release will necessarily mean an NFT drop is coming. Nike hasn’t responded to Decrypt’s requests for comment to clarify the issue, so it’s currently unclear how many—if any—of the brand’s upcoming video game integrations will actually involve NFTs.
Edited by Andrew Hayward