It's a look at how physical and digital goods are coming together.
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.