Virtual Nikes: Shoe Giant Follows Facebook Into The Metaverse

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Kimberlee Speakman   Forbes U.S. Staff

Virtual Nikes: Shoe Giant Follows Facebook Into The Metaverse

One week after Facebook announced it would rebrand to Meta to focus on a metaverse where people can meet and connect virtually using any device, Nike appears among the first major brands preparing for a launch into the metaverse.

KEY FACTS

Nike filed trademark applications last week with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for Nike-branded virtual goods, including clothing and sneakers, with sources telling CNBC News that the move is the company’s first step toward rolling out virtual products in the metaverse space.

- The day Facebook announced its rebranding, it tweeted at Texas supermarket chain H-E-B, “wondering what groceries in the metaverse will look like,” signaling a potential collaboration where people could order groceries virtually online, as the supermarket chain completes construction on a new tech center in San Antonio.

- Meta has also hinted at working with its long-time e-commerce partner Shopify, saying it “couldn’t wait to explore” the possibilities of selling “physical and digital products” with the company in the metaverse.

TANGENT

Microsoft has announced it would create their own digital virtual universe called “Microsoft Mesh” — a direct competition to Facebook’s metaverse — and it would introduce new features to Microsoft Teams like 3D avatars and virtual meeting rooms as a part of its digital offerings.

KEY BACKGROUND

Facebook’s name change and new announcements come as the company faces scrutiny for internal documents that were released by whistleblower Francis Haugen, who alleged the company allowed misinformation to spread on its platform and ignored research that its apps were harmful to teen mental health, which Zuckerberg has denied. In an effort to distance itself from the allegations, the company rebranded and announced a slew of new features coming to its platforms, including the building of its metaverse. Zuckerberg said they had high hopes for it, with a goal of reaching a billion people and hosting “hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce.”

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

At Facebook’s annual Connect conference, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave some details into the digital world the company hopes to build, saying it would create virtual spaces for work and education, as well as virtual workout sessions. In a founder’s letter released with the launch of the company’s new name Meta, Zuckerberg said people would be able to do “almost anything you can imagine” and that they want the metaverse to feel as if a person is “right there with another person or in another place.” 

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Kimberlee Speakman   Forbes U.S. Staff

I am a Hawaii-based reporter covering breaking news for Forbes. I graduated from the University of Hawaii with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Communications before moving on to cover local news at KHON2 and Ka Leo O Hawaii in Hawaii. Now I am working to cover news on a national scale.