While in fashion avatars are used to make sure trim and fit are right, there are many opportunities to use these avatars outside of the norm that can help expand your brand, increase sales and so much more. Avatars are being used in gaming, fashion collaborations and even as digital influences. Let’s break this down and start with the basics
What is an Avatar?
Avatars are customizable virtual beings that can be used in many things. They can be as inclusive as we want them to be, customizing everything from skin and eye color to body proportions. They are in video games, on Facebook, in fashion they are used for getting the proper fit and so on and so forth. For some they are more than just an avatar but an extension to their real life personality. The avatar company Genies began as an avatar creation platform for celebrities. Virtual identities are something that are becoming more and more popular and are being used in everything from games to custom NFT’s for fashion collaboration. There is a lot of emotion tied into these avatars as well as a ton of money being spent on them as well.
Avatars in Gaming and How Fashion Can Leverage This
NorthFace and Gucci collaborated with Pokemon GO, a hit mobile gaming app based off of the series and card game in which players use 3D and augmented reality to capture different Pokemon characters, creating digital apparel to be given to players as rewards to dress their Avatars with. While players did not have to purchase the items in-app, they did have the opportunity to purchase the same items for themselves in real life.
Let’s dig a little deeper into avatars and how they are impacting gaming, how gaming is monetizing this and how you can leverage this for your fashion brand. Gaming is huge and an amazing opportunity for those looking to think outside of the box and increase their reach and customer base. Esports alone was 160 billion dollar industry in 2019. That is massive! During the pandemic, the amount of people gaming increased even more to 4 out 5 Americans having played video games in the last 6 months.
Apparel and footwear companies are taking note and cashing in. Within the last 18 months, Puma signed 4 different deals with esports and gaming groups. For Puma this was a perfect fit. 85% of Pumas customers are males with 75% of those males watching esports and gaming streams on platforms like Twitch. Twitch gets hundreds of millions of views. Now think of what that could do for your brand. Putting your designs on an avatar for millions to see. When people are watching gaming streams what they are watching is the avatars. This then makes it so that avatars are now a perfect tool for branding and reach! People go as far as dressing up as their favorite avatars. So if the avatar is wearing a limited edition Gucci shirt there is now an entire fanbase that will also wear that Gucci shirt!
Another game that is widely streamed and has a tournament that cashes in millions of dollars and that is seen by 100’s of millions of people worldwide is League of Legends. Louis Vutton teamed up with League of Legends to create apparel for the avatars as well as providing the prize for the tournament and the trophy. They also created apparel that could be bought and purchased in real life for players as well. Grand Theft Auto aka GTA had collaborations with Civilist and MSBHV. These collaborations were perfect in that GTA is a game where you can pretty much do anything good or bad and anarchy rules. Considering MSBHV is a punk eastern european club scene brand, this was a perfect fit.
Now to the current king of gaming. When it comes to the sheer amount of people playing and money spent on purchases Fortnite is king! In 2019 alone, Fortnite made 1.8 billion dollars and it was all exclusively through microtransactions. The thing about Fortnite is that it is free to play and is on almost every gaming platform out there from PC to XBox, Playstation and even on mobile! Players can purchase skins, emoticons and outfits for their avatars and more the key being that most things are only available for a limited time only! This makes customers feel like they may miss out and they end up purchasing the item. Fortnite has even had fashion shows take place where gamers dress up and talk about each other’s outfits and judge them ect. For those participating their outfits and skins are considered a status symbol. Gamers are using real money to purchase items in a virtual game.
Avatars are being used outside of gaming and fashion as well. We have all heard of influencers, but have you heard of digital influencers?
Miquela is a digital influencer with over 3 million followers on Instagram! Everyone from Givenchy, Burberry, Chanel and Calvin Klein have all collaborated with Miquela. She has even taken digital photos with celebs. The great thing about digital influencers like Miquela is that they not only interact wholeheartedly with their audience from tweets to posts etc, they provide experiences to their audience as well. 3D filters and augmented reality experiences where these digital influencers can be placed in their followers’ environment are some examples of how this digital influencers are being used.
RTFKT and NFT
Humans are being used as avatars as well. For example, RTFKT, the virtual shoe company made over $3.1 million dollars in 7 minutes selling 600 pairs of virtual shoes. The campaign was powered by SnapChat and did amazing. Everyone that bought a pair of virtual shoes did receive a physical copy of the shoe as well. What is genius about this model is that they got the funding to make the physical copies and fill orders before they ever even made the product. There was no money or time wasted on creating physical copies of the shoes waiting to be sold. Warby Parker also has try-on experiences, such as the one RTFKT created to sell their sneakers, integrated into their online platform.
With all of this amazing new technology comes barriers. The main ones being the interoperability of files. There are different formats for different programs that also export different files than the others as well. On top of these texture files are also not supported across all platforms causing major headaches, lots of spent time and money. Also, file sizes are too large at the moment to be used in anything other than fashion. In order to take advantage of gaming and these other platforms file sizes need to be trimmed way down. As it stands the files are completely unusable for gaming. Working with outside agencies can be a work around but that is costly and can take a ton of time. Time is not something that these platforms have a lot of. Fashion needs to be able to act quickly in order to capitalize on that.
How VNTANA Solves This
VNTANA is the solution to that problem. Our motto is One Platform, Every Channel, Fully Automated. We can not only help with the initial digital product creation but from there we also automatically optimize the files as well as distribute them through API’s to any endpoint. We accomplish in minutes what used to take hours, days and weeks. No more worrying if your files will be compatible with the various platforms, we create all of the various file types for every platform automatically. If you have questions or would like to speak with one of our 3D experts contact us to get started today.