Update (June 21): “The connection between Fortnite and Nike doesn’t integrate any NFTs or digital item trading marketplaces into the Fortnite world or its economy,” an Epic Games spokesperson told Decrypt. “Items recognized across these two ecosystems are purely for the enjoyment of the purchaser, and aren’t tradeable, transferrable, or sellable, as has always been the case in the Fortnite economy.”
Nike, the footwear and apparel titan, has hinted at an impending release of a unique sneaker non-fungible token (NFT) collection on Fortnite, the widely popular online game developed by Epic Games.
In an announcement shared across Nike’s social media channels on June 16, the company teased that the “ultimate Sneakerhunt” will begin on June 20. Accompanying the announcement was a brief video, prominently featuring Fortnite’s logo and Nike’s Air Max logo set against a backdrop of floating clouds in the sky. The video transitioned to reveal the name of the sneaker hunt, “Airphoria,” and concluded with Nike’s logo for its web3 platform, .SWOOSH, displayed alongside the logo for Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.
The clues dropped by Nike have generated speculation within the NFT community that the company might have constructed an NFT-related game using Fortnite Creative 2.0. This game-building feature allows users to create their virtual island game maps using Fortnite’s assets. In the past, Nike has utilized similar game creation mechanics, evidenced by a game it developed on ROBLOX two years ago, albeit without the incorporation of NFTs.
Despite the details remaining largely elusive at this point, the involvement of .SWOOSH, Nike’s NFT unit, strongly suggests the integration of NFTs into the upcoming Airphoria event. Notably, Epic Games also maintains a friendly disposition towards NFT gaming.
Nike’s foray into NFTs and web3 signifies a substantial step toward bringing NFTs to the masses and possibly encouraging traditional gaming giants to adopt NFTs. It’s worth noting that Fortnite has had more than 242.9 million active players over the past 30 days, according to Active Player, meaning that the launch of NFTs on the platform could potentially represent a significant boost for web3 adoption by traditional gamers.
Earlier this month, .SWOOSH announced plans to integrate its NFTs into games developed by EA Sports, the company responsible for the immensely successful FIFA soccer game franchise, among others. However, it is not yet clear which of the EA Sports games will feature Nike NFTs.
As for the Fortnite realm, the shooter game has generated billions in revenue from selling digital items in partnership with various entertainment, fashion, and gaming brands. Still, these items remain locked within the Fortnite ecosystem and cannot be resold or used in other games or online worlds. This is where the NFTs come into play. Unlike traditional in-game digital items, NFTs are composable blockchain assets that can be freely traded and potentially used across different games and online platforms.
The anticipated partnership between Nike and Fortnite thus signals a critical shift in the digital items marketplace within the gaming world. With NFTs, players could enjoy more flexibility and benefits compared to traditional in-game digital items.
As the gaming community waits for official details regarding the collaboration, the implications of Nike’s NFT platform integration with Fortnite are enormous. Not only would it present a new form of engagement within the Fortnite universe, but it could also serve as a milestone in the convergence of traditional gaming, fashion, and blockchain technology.