Can you believe that Netflix, the giant streaming platform, mentioned games like Fortnite and not other streaming platforms as their competitors? And it is not only because millions of people spend a lot of time on gaming platforms especially since the pandemic, but there are millions of people actually spending real money on digital products that can be used only in the games. That’s right! Around 80% of Fortnite players spend on cosmetics for their avatars.
Digital skins are purchased by players for their avatars so that they can enhance their visual appeal in the game. With the rise of digital fashion, fashion brands and designers have started taking a keen interest in this upcoming market segment which is ready to shell out money for the element of uniqueness to their virtual avatars. For example, in 2018, a rare weapon skin of CS:GO was bought for $61K. This record was recently broken for a skin made for an AK-47 rifle in the same game for around $150K!
Why the hype around game skins?
- Opportunity to be their true selves:
It gives an opportunity for players to make their avatars closer to their real version or even better – create an identity like never before.
As Andrew Wagner who wrote “The Economics of Online Gaming: A Player’s Introduction to Economic Thinking” said, “From my experience, what a lot of people do online is, when they’re playing a game, they’re either who they are in the real world or they’re the type of person they wish to be in the real world. They are making a statement. This is who I am. I’m part of this group. This is the way I want to be seen.”
This is a major reason why Roblox is successful. They offer different types of customisation options for players to create an identity they wish.
- A chance to get access to limited edition collection:
For some it is a matter of status. For example, owning limited-edition skins from reputed brands is a matter of pride which may or may not be possible in a real world environment. In fact, the UK’s Children’s Commissioner noted that now skins in Fortnite and the latest trainers have equal value for school children.
- Financial gains for designers and creators:
Because of NFTs, now digital artists can sell their designs for these platforms and earn money out of each sale. On the Steam platform where they saw around 1.15 million concurrent users playing Counter Strike: Global Offensive, popular skin designs voted by players are introduced officially in the skin collection and the respective designers are compensated accordingly.
How have some fashion brands leveraged the power of gaming?
- In 2019, Louis Vitton collaborated with League of Legends to create digital game skins for the avatars.
- In 2020, the game Animal Crossing has seen custom designs by Valentino, Marc Jacobs, and Anna Sui.
- In 2020, Gucci created a few designs for digital apparel for the players of Tennis Clash, one of the top games on the App Store.
- Now Christian Louboutin’s Spring 2021 collection can be accessed by players on Zepeto.
- Roblox now also has Nike Air Max trainers and merchandise of NFL for their avatars.
- In Honor of Kings, China’s biggest video game, Burberry launched their digital skins for Yao, the female protagonist in the game. Some of them were a part of their spring/ summer 2021 collection.
- For PUBG Mobile, game skin designs have been made available by streetwear brands like BAPE.
What do the results look like after such collaborations?
- In an interesting partnership between Drest and Warner Bros. for the film Wonder Woman 1984, costumes from the movie were available to players for their avatars. The looks were such a hit that around 50% of the users watched or made plans to watch the movie!
- To launch their 2021 collection, Balenciaga released a game video Afterworld: The Age Of Tomorrow, which increased their popularity by 41 percent, just after 48 hours of the game’s release.
- Roblox has gained revenues around $183 million from in-game purchases.
The market for virtual goods has grown into a $190 billion market and the major contribution is by the popular character skins. In fact, according to NPD Research Group, microtransactions in games by consumers generated around $9.6 billion.
How can you sell your products as digital skins?
- Gauge the interest of your target audience by identifying the popular apparel purchased by players for their avatars in different games. Also, understand the criteria of gaming companies from their past partnerships with fashion brands.
- Establish your presence on shopping sites for better visibility among players and gaming platforms, alike. For example, setting up a customised kiosk in Neo Marche’s virtual marketplace can help your target audience see your collection at one go.
- Participate in community forums for online games and get feedback for your digital game skins.
Clearly, it seems like a good idea to get into the skin of the digital fashion game sooner than later! We at Neo Marche can help you to explore the wonderful possibilities of virtual fashion.