Earlier last month, we saw reports suggesting that Nike will soon release virtual sneakers and outfits for the Metaverse ecosystem, backed by companies like Meta and Microsoft. Now, the American shoe brand has acquired a company named RTFKT, which specializes in virtual sneakers and NFTs, to push its Metaverse goals. Nike, Inc., announced the acquisition via an official blog post recently. In the official post, Nike described RTFKT as “a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next-generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.” Now, coming to the questions of what RTFKT does and what is the point of this acquisition by Nike, the simple answer would be virtual products for the Metaverse. The company was founded last year by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le, and Steven Vasilev and leverages the latest game engines, NFTs, and blockchain technologies to develop one-of-a-kind virtual products and experiences, as per Nike.
Back in February, when the concept of NFT started gaining traction in the market, RTFKT collaborated with a teenage artist to sell real pair of sneakers along with their virtual counterparts. The company was reportedly able to sell around 600 pairs of the special sneakers/ NFTs in just six minutes, garnering over $3.1 million at the time. It also recently launched the CloneX NFT project in collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, offering various digital avatars that are ready for the Metaverse ecosystem. Now, as Nike aims to push its iconic footwear lines to the Metaverse virtual environment when it becomes mainstream in the market, the company acquired RTFKT to pre-develop its virtual products. It also noted that the terms of the deal will not be disclosed to the public. So, although the company did not reveal the monetary value for the acquisition, the company placed RTFKT’s lightning bolt logo alongside its iconic swoosh, Jumpman, and Converse logos in a GIF image attached below. “This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming, and culture,” Nike’s President and CEO, John Donahoe, said in a statement. “We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities,” he further added.