The worlds are colliding – but in a good way – as esports meets NFTs. That’s right those non-fungible tokens are not just for professional athletes of traditional sports anymore. As esports continues to grow in popularity, so too do the professionals who get paid to play and have become celebrities unto themselves. Therefore, it wasn’t going to take long before somebody figured out a way to capitalize on their burgeoning celebrity status.
The latest example of this increasingly common collaboration is European esports organization, K1CK, announcing through its parent company, ESE entertainment, that the first iterations of their NFT rollout will be featuring Apex Legends player Jose Domingo ‘Uxako’ Llosa Mesías and League of Legends player Łukasz ‘Puki Style’ Zygmunciak.
Konrad Wasiela, CEO of ESE Entertainment, said: “The NFT industry is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. The OpenSea marketplace recorded over $3 billion in transaction volume in August 2021. This is a tenfold increase from the previous month. We are thrilled to be part of this new opportunity around digital assets and are now providing exclusive NFTs to K1CK’s global fanbase.”
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that no one is going to spend good money for an NFT if they don’t care about the athlete, celebrity, or whatever it is that is being memorialized through blockchain technology. But esports has become such a phenomenon that people are more than willing to pay for the esports celebrities appearing on the NFTs. In fact, even the bookies are getting in on the act. Consider many of the best online sportsbooks have sports betting apps with esports on its menu.
Last month, Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company, announced the inception of its Inaugural Collection of Flamengo Esports NFTs. Roman Franklin, CEO of Simplicity Esports, stated, “I think our Flamengo Esports fans are the most passionate fans in the world, and I am thrilled to give them the opportunity to own the very first Flamengo Esports NFT minted. I am particularly excited that we have been able to create an NFT that includes autographs from our entire 2021 League of Legends Second Split roster. This includes the Academy team that won back-to-back Championships in 2021. This marks a new era of digital merchandise for Flamengo Esports, and I look forward to continuing our collection and bringing our fans and investors trading card style NFTs in October that are focused on each individual player.”
Video Game Characters the Latest in Haute Couture
Gamers are spending lots of money to make sure their characters look good even if they, themselves, don’t play so good. That’s right, those skins that are being sold, and character accessories being purchased, are becoming all the rage. Even if your gaming skills are frumpy, your character can be boujee, and all you have to do is earn the points, or pay outright, to dress him or her to your heart’s content.
And it’s not only glitzy, high fashion that is making its way onto monitors everywhere but cosmetics and accessories. Clothes, hair, makeup, and you’re ready for your cameo! “It’s a new trend, but it’s not a trend that’s going to die; It’s only getting more popular,” says Jo-Ashley Robert, an associate producer for Dead by Daylight who oversees the creation of characters and cosmetics. “For players, it’s a type of expression and immersion. By dressing your character how you want, it pushes the imagination a little further.”
If you want to deck your Dead by Daylight character out then you will have to earn 1100 cells or pony up $8.99 for the privilege. Robert said her team is a veritable thinktank of fashion and cosmetic ideas and a new character replete with all of the requisite features can take as long as three months to build, “Many of our character concept artists have a background in fashion, and they look at the runways and fashion designers for inspiration. We want to do storytelling through the clothing. We did that for The Trickster, our K-pop-themed killer [who wears a feather-shouldered evening coat, among other pieces]. He’s a showman, so we looked at the big Korean fashion designers.”
And it is not just fashion that can be bought because now developers are partnering with celebrities to wear this virtual high-priced gear. Fortnite teamed with singing sensation, Ariana Grande, and allowed its users to play as her, adorned with all the fashion accouterments, and even weaponized the pop princess with an oversized pink hammer to slay her opponents.
The esports and video game market is booming and wherever ancillary revenue can be derived you can be certain that it will be tapped to the fullest. It won’t be long before retail stores will feature actual clothing of the video game characters to be worn by their users. We see it all the time at Comic-Con so why not as everyday apparel? Stay tuned fashion fans!