We have seen some impressive announcements in the past five years, but this partnership between EA Sports and Nike’s .SWOOSH for its NFTs is by far the most profound. In fact, I believe we will look back on this collaboration as Web3 gaming’s watershed moment.
Nike has shown an interest in Web3 for some time and the .SWOOSH project, Nike’s NFT collection, has been known for some time. I was initially pleased to see Nike dipping a toe in blockchain waters, but the concept lacked meat on the bones. While I appreciated the idea of owning Nike NFT trainers (sneakers), their lack of utility left me cold. There were some perks to owning one of these NFTs, including “special access” to product launches and even more vague benefits, but it wasn’t until a recent partnership announcement that things really changed.
Nike .SWOOSH NFTs Will Feature in EA Sports Games
Nike’s teaser video for .SWOOSH
The Nike .SWOOSH project is, simply put, the tokenization of digital trainers (sneakers). Initially, it seemed this new digital section of Nike was a more contemporary way of engaging with its enormous fanbase, which is still the case, but now in a more profound way.
— EA SPORTS (@EASPORTS) June 1, 2023
In an official Nike announcement, we saw an unveiling of Nike’s digital branch and EA Sports partnership. The press release is worded more carefully than a politician’s response to allegations, tiptoeing past terms such as “NFT”, “blockchain”, and “Web3”, but it appears that is what we are looking at. Nike’s .SWOOSH project is the first step toward collaborative, cross-game NFTs in major gaming franchises.
For the uninitiated, EA Sports is behind the most popular sports games, including FIFA, Madden, NBA, NHL, and F1, though the list extends someway beyond those. According to Statista, EA Sports has a reach of around 150 million players across all of its games. The integration of NFTs into these games, even if just a handful of Nike football boots into FIFA, would be the watershed moment for Web3 gaming.
Although the initial roll-out could be as small as a few footwear designs, the important factor is the infrastructure to do this. Once a single EA Sports game has the capabilities of verifying NFT ownership and implementing the item in a game, it can be applied to all EA Sports games. What may start with a few boots, could end up being kits, training attire, accessories, and so on. There is then, of course, trading between players which I suspect is EA Sports’ end game as market fees from secondary sales could be a staggeringly large revenue stream.
Nike’s .SWOOSH is on the brilliant Polygon network, which means the NFTs, when issued, will be trackable through the Token Gamer app as we are officially partnered with Polygon!
If Nike’s .SWOOSH NFTs on Polygon are integrated into EA Sports titles, which appears to be the case, then this is the most significant moment in Web3 gaming’s history. Whatever is in second place is so far behind, it’s on a different lap.