Haute couture brands from Gucci to LV are launching their own games. See why

The introduction of playable NFTs caused a stir. Over the past year, this has allowed players to create new kinds of value for themselves with every victory. A non-fungible token or NFT is, essentially, a fancy term for a digital-only asset purchased using cryptocurrency. It’s an abstract and somewhat murky idea that has already turned the art world upside down.

There are two things NFTs are doing in the gaming world now: they are changing revenue streams, putting more power in the hands of the player; and they are changing advertising models. Here’s why: unlike virtual tools in most games, bonus points, or even in-game currency, NFTs (at least for now) are standalone digital assets. They do not lose value outside of a match. During a game, they can be sold to other players. Other than that, they can be exchanged for cryptocurrency on an NFT exchange.

Already, brands are sneaking into this space. Some piggyback on existing platforms, such as the fantasy football game Sorare, where players can buy, sell, trade and manage virtual football teams using cards issued by real clubs and leagues, the latest addition being Spanish LaLiga. Each Sorare card is a tradable NFT.

Some brands create their own games. In 2020, Warner Bros. and DC Comics collaborated with gaming platform Roblox to create a Wonder Woman game in which Robux, the platform’s digital currency, could be used to purchase Wonder Woman accessories for avatars, among other things.

Haute couture brands from Balenciaga to Gucci and Louis Vuitton are planning games as extensions of their marketing and branding campaigns.

Louis Vuitton released a first version in August. Called Louis the Game, it follows a protagonist named Vivienne through six different worlds, on a quest to collect 200 candles to mark the 200th birthday of founding fashion designer Louis Vuitton. Along the way, she receives postcards containing anecdotes about the brand’s history.

As Vivienne progresses through the game, the player also “wins” collectibles in the form of NFTs. Of the game’s 30 “collectible” NFTs, 10 were designed by digital artist Beeple (who auctioned an NFT for $69.3 million at Christies last year). These NFTs, however, are just collectibles. The game is free to play and none of the assets are for sale. Again.

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