.SWOOSH by Nike this week launched its first digital sneaker, a a Polygon-based OF1 (Our Force 1) whose sale can be described as discombobulated at best with the brand working through a combination of technical kinks combined with less robust demand than anticipated for the virtual item.
Some of the issues no doubt arose from Nike having to construct from scratch an online platform for selling and storing products built on a blockchain. Technical issues were the most problematic on day one (May 15, 2023) of the early access sale when users attempting to buy an OF-1 were greeted by a barrage of error messages, which the team claims was caused by a huge influx of traffic. And yet, in a Twitter Spaces room on day three (May 17th) of the early access launch, the .SWOOSH team said it had sold just 16.5,000 OF1 posters out of a total of 106,453.
As for details on the launch, . SWOOSH is still in Beta with a membership of around 350,000. Last week, the platform air-dropped select Beta members one of 106,453 OF1 digital posters, which was required to purchase an OF1 priced at $19.82 during early access. Users who received a poster were able to buy one of two UF1 boxes, which will open at a date to be announced, along with added benefits.
Indicating sales were not as robust as planned, Nike extended the deadline for early access several times plus the team let it be known that beta members could buy up to four OF1s during the general access sale, even for those who acquired one during early access, an increase from initial guidelines setting limits at two for those with early access and one for general access.
The day before the general access launch, . SWOOSH announced there would be more 83,000 OF1s available out of a total of 106,453. At the end of day one of general access (May 24th), .SWOOSH announced that “more than 50%” of boxes had been sold, by any measure a lackluster amount given popular NFT projects are genearlly expected to sell out quickly.
While demand has been underwhelming, Nike probably views the investment in part as a way to connect with the Generation Alpha consumer, who was born from 2010 onward and has a different view on buying, trading and selling electronic products than prior generations.
For some more background, . SWOOSH doesn’t describe its virtual products as NFTs in part because they’re currently, as Nike describes, “sole bound,” in other words . SWOOSH’s virtual products are linked to the individual’s account and can’t currently be bought or sold. As well, unlike NFTS, which are bought and sold with crypto, the OF1 can only be purchased with a credit card. The company has promised it will soon launch a marketplace, “where users can acquire more virtual creations and grow their collections.”
In you missed the launch of .SWOOSH, it was announced in mid-November 2022, as a new Web3 platform located at swoosh.nike. The project is part of Nike Virtual Studios, led by vice president Ron Faris, the former head of Nike’s SNKRS app. .SWOOSH will be the home of Nike’s virtual creations. Digital platform RTFKT (for which Nike is said to have paid over $1 billion), informs Nike Virtual Studios, but the Dot Swoosh project is Nike-only.