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The Wu-Tang Clan is coming to Fortnite Island. News of the legendary hip-hop group's entrance into the video game offers an example of what commerce might look like as physical and digital worlds blend.
The details: On April 23 at 8 p.m., the popular battle royale video game Fortnite is set to drop new apparel and accessories from The Wu-Tang Clan in its in-game shop.
First, a little background on Fortnite: The game brings players into a world in which they must gather resources, and be inventive. It also has an economy all its own. Players can upgrade their looks with items from Fortnite’s Item Shop, a virtual marketplace where users use V-Bucks (which they exchanged for real money) to purchase items that style their characters, and their playing experiences. It’s an important part of Fortnite’s model, and a much-loved feature of the game that allows for creativity and customization.
(Image via Epic Games)
The drop on Friday brings the opportunity for a player to customize a game with Wu-Tang style. It is offering items from Wu-Wear, which is the Wu-Tang Clan’s clothing line, but with a distinct Fortnite spin. The digital items available to players include outfits and pickaxes. Players can also add in-game elements, such as emoticons and a loading screen.
With the drop, Fortnite doubles as a place where players can buy IRL goods, as well. Some of the Fortnite x Wu-Tang gear available will be physical versions of the looks that appear in the game.
Why it’s interesting: The drop mixes music, fashion and gaming, showing how a number of creative approaches can come together in a digital space. Making it all function is commerce, albeit of the in-game variety. This is one of a number of splashy recent additions to Fortnite that hint at an evolution of ecommerce as experiences bridge both digital and physical goods. There are opportunities for cross-pollination between physical and digital goods. What started in one medium can be applied in another. Drops and high-profile collaborations are nothing new in the fashion world. With regular collaborations like this one, Fortnite is showing how they can move to the virtual world.
(Image courtesy of Epic Games)
What it shows: When industry leaders urge anyone wanting a glimpse of the metaverse to look no further than kids playing video games, this is an example of what they mean. In creating a new digital world, Fortnite is bringing some of what exists in this one along. The players have a new set of tools to add to it as they go. The availability of goods in real life demonstrates the opportunities that might emerge to style the physical world after the virtual one.
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Trending in Brand News
The virtual store was built by Emperia.
As it opens a new boutique, Italian women’s fashion brand Pinko is opening a virtual store that is designed to create a personalized experience for customers to browse handbags digitally.
Pinko's virtual shopping experience powered by the platform Emperia, which allows users to access metaverse environments through commonly-used devices such as laptops and mobile phones. The launch of the store, which is dubbed Pinko Galleria, is timed with the opening of the brand’s boutique in the exclusive Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan.
The store has exclusive offerings that allow the brand to cross the physical and digital worlds:
- New handbags that are specifically designed for the experience, and displayed through 3D modeling that offers education and
- NFTs from Pinko called Meta Love Bags.
- Communities for women that are designed for empowerment and independence.
The opening comes on the heels of last week’s closing of a $10 million Series A investment round for Emperia, which has also worked with Bloomingdale’s and Dior. Founded in 2019 by fashion and retail expert Olga Dogadkina and VR technologist Simonas Holcmann, Emperia’s platform provides the technology and visual infrastructure that architect the virtual stores, as well as data and analytics that provides key insights to retailers about how shoppers interact with the store and what is needed to personalize experiences.
The virtual store is designed to complement the physical store. It presents new opportunities for brand-building that is untethered from physical parameters. It also makes the exclusive more accessible. Shoppers anywhere in the world can now enter the store, even as the physical location is only in Milan.
“The new experience allows audiences, worldwide, to experience the unique, bold design that Pinko is so well-known for, wherever they choose to,” says Olga Dogadkina, Co-founder & CEO at Emperia, in a statement. “Our 3D technology ensures a high merchandise-viewing quality, which complements its real-life twin product, to the smallest detail, allowing Pinko to present and directly-sell its exclusive capsule collection in a way that simulates a realistic shopping experience.”
Inside the virtual store, shoppers have the opportunity to browse and navigate through a space that is laid out and merchandised in 3D with all the hallmarks of a Pinko physical store, right down to a full layout of the brand's signature pink. They’re also greeted by music. A sign that the store is not in the physical world arrives upon turning toward the front. Look out the window, and a shopper will find that they are high above the clouds.
That’s a new way to elevate the experience.
Here are more photos of the Pinko virtual store:
Handbags in Pinko's virtual store. (Courtesy photo)
Hands holding handbags. (Courtesy photo)
NFTs in Pinko's virtual store. (courtesy photo)
Looking out the window at Pinko's virtual store.