Nike built on a multi-year partnership with Epic Games to create “Airphoria,” an online gaming experience within Fortnite, the brand announced on Tuesday.
Fortnite players can purchase outfits worn by Airphoria characters in the Fortnite Item Shop. Nike also released a limited Airphoria-inspired collection of physical products on its website in North America.
Airphoria access opened on Tuesday and is available through June 27.
The partnership with Epic Games builds upon Nike’s previous efforts to bridge the metaverse concept with its physical products.
“Airphoria represents a new, immersive experience for Nike as it amplifies its efforts in gaming and virtual products,” Ron Faris, vice president and general manager of Nike Virtual Studios, said in a statement. “As digital and physical worlds become more seamless across the products and experiences we offer, we’re always seeking authentic ways to deepen our connection with fans, expand access points to Nike across our digital ecosystem and inspire a love of sport and play.”
Airphoria is also the result of an ongoing partnership between Nike and Epic Games. In 2019, Nike’s Jordan brand teamed with Fortnite to let players wear virtual versions of its shoes within the game.
The game was constructed using Epic Games’ Unreal Editor for Fortnite tool, which allows developers to design and publish content within Fortnite. “Nike is one of the first brands to use Epic Games’ Unreal Editor for Fortnite to build Airphoria, paving the way for a continued partnership that will further unlock the future of gaming,” Faris said.
The partnership with Nike comes as Epic Games plots its metaverse expansion. In April 2022, the company raised $2 billion from Sony Group Corporation and Kirkbi, the investment arm of The Lego Group. After raising $1 billion in 2021, the company said it planned to devote the $2 billion toward building the metaverse.
With the Epic Games collaboration, Nike deepens its relationship with the gaming industry. In 2018, Nike China and Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai partnered to create a three-minute game that lets consumers test its Epic React shoes on treadmills in its Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu locations.
Last November, Nike also announced the beta launch of its .Swoosh platform, where shoppers can buy and customize virtual items like shoes and jerseys.
(Copyright: MarketinDive Nike launches virtual gaming experience ‘Airphoria’ in Fortnite | Marketing Dive)