That opens up a variety of new roles. For a lot of companies, you will notice 'Innovation Officers' who do exactly that—find new innovative ways to push the brand forward. Companies like Starbucks are hiring 3D artists, which just a few years ago seemed to be an opportunity only for film or game studios. Businesses like Nike are entering the game by acquiring RTFKT. "There's a whole new digital vertical where you can create a digital product at minimal cost," Shelley says. Compare that to the expenses of making actual sneakers and setting up the whole production pipeline, and the numbers speak for themselves. Not only is the entry cost low, but it's a great price for marketing and community building in comparison to running an ad on legacy media.
In a few years, Jon believes we will see more metaverse events connected to real-life ones, whether that be a fashion show or a product launch. To note, Metaverse Fashion Week took place
on March 27, with DKNY and Charles & Keith being among the fashion brands taking part. At the same time, more brands will follow in the footsteps of Starbucks and build their own loyalty programs. Although the metaverse might not be interconnected within the next five years, the companies that make it a seamless transition from web2 to web3 for its users—so that the bar of entry is low to actively participate in and experience the metaverse—will be the ones that succeed in building community and propelling their brand forward.
For VRTL WRLD specifically, the studio is planning to expand further and become a trusted partner to businesses that want to future-proof their brands. The team is also planning to release its own project in Q1 2024, VRTL Pass, which will serve as a collaboration tool. The company previously had a similar project called KRYPTOZ and worked with artists like Keith Harris and AMC Theatres, but it turned out to be too niche in terms of visual IP.
This time, the team wants to focus less on creating a full visual IP and more on developing an ecosystem where it can bring people together. VRTL WRLD will take on digital production and team up with traditional artists. "Our first idea is to have a 1/1 pair of physical sneakers hand-painted with graphics by a Santa Cruz skateboard artist," Jon shares. "We will introduce the VRTL Pass to the community; they will purchase a pass and have a chance of obtaining exclusive collectibles." The founder will also use the VRTL Pass to help brands enter this ecosystem through collaboration.