“Today, Nike launches .SWOOSH. The new digital community and experience is a home for Nike virtual creations and uses blockchain-powered technology — or what many call “web3” — to offer an inclusive, equitable place for athletes, creators, collectors and consumers to design and own the future of sport.” (Nike)
Nike Virtual Studios aims to meet its community where they “play and shop sport” to onboard the non-crypto native community into the world of web3 and digital collectibles.
“We are shaping a marketplace of the future with an accessible platform for the web3-curious. In this new space, the .SWOOSH community and Nike can create, share, and benefit together.” (Ron Faris, GM of Nike Virtual Studios)
Dot Swoosh can be found at the domain swoosh.nike and Nike members will be able to learn about “virtual creations” aka digital goods that offer utility in the metaverse, such as “in digital games and immersive experiences”.
Nike will specially invite “a diverse, equitable community” to not only grow in preparation for its first digital collectible NFT drop coming in January 2023. The challenge will be to convey the possibilities of Web3 and make it more accessible and less alienating.
“Nike will grow the platform by inviting in a community that is as diverse and equitable as possible. That means prioritizing local communities that Nike supports across its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives … skill-building with them so that they’re ready to participate.” (Nike)
Shortly after will follow a community challenge where the winners will get to co-create or influence the design of a Nike digital collectible and earn a royalty on the virtual or phygital product. This collaborative user-generated content (UGC) will be a key piece of their Web3 strategy. Nike has already made over a billion dollars via royalties from RTFKT products.
“.SWOOSH is a new community experience, designed to give you the opportunity to co-create the future of Nike.” (Nike)
“We want to redefine what it means to be a creator, and we believe the future of sport is creative and inclusive.” (Ron Faris, GM of Nike Virtual Studios)
Community members will also have the chance to unlock access to limited physical products and events, such as “intimate conversations” with athletes, celebrities or designers. The platform will be a safe space to buy, trade and exhibit their virtual and phygital products.
Special emphasis will be given to sharing the experience of ‘utility’ in the digital and phygital world. Examples include digital sneakers unlocking access to the real-life version, token-gated access to artists and sports celebrities or special privileges in the metaverse such as custom accessories in a user’s favourite game.
“When you think of a virtual product like a virtual shoe, it’s not just a shoe; it’s the product and the experience, service or utility baked in. We don't see that virtual product as the end of the purchase journey; it is the beginning of the journey” (Ron Faris, GM of Nike Virtual Studios)
Dot Swoosh is currently in a closed beta with a waitlist opening on 18. November 2022 allowing Nike members to gain an access code and join its web3 initiative on its full launch later this year. Nike Virtual Studios will also ramp up its Web3 education program by hosting events in the coming months in six American cities: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Charlotte, Louisville and Tallahassee. Some cities were chosen as they are not typical tech capitals chosen for new innovations.
“The point: to expand the definition of sport — and serve its future — by democratizing the web3 experience so that everyone can collect, create and own a piece of this new digital world.” (Nike)
Riot Games and Ubisoft are both members of the Fair Play Alliance, an initiative aiming to encourage “fair play and healthy communities in online gaming”.
“The Fair Play Alliance comprises over 200 gaming companies today, all united in our mission to identify, define, and enable awesome player interactions, fair play, and healthy communities in online games by design … We envision a world where games are free of harassment, discrimination, and abuse, and where players can express themselves through play.” (Fair Play Alliance)
In pursuit of this goal, the two gaming studies have announced a technology partnership that will improve the training of artificial intelligence (AI) moderation tools. “Zero Harm in Comms” will be a research project to make gaming safer and more inclusive while at the same time creating more rewarding social experiences for gamers.
“Across the gaming industry, many people are hard at work making gaming a more positive, more inclusive, and, ultimately, a more fun experience for everyone. Making meaningful change in this complex challenge is going to take collaboration across the gaming industry.” (Riot Games)
With an ever expanding metaverse of games, the problems of community moderation increase exponentially. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and optimization offers a powerful solution to detecting “harmful behavior” and help foster “more positive communities”.
This collaboration will explore the potential for industry collaboration through potential ethics and privacy frameworks, as well as the technological foundation required. It is hoped that the diverse game portfolio of both studios encompasses not only every type of in-game behavior but also every type of player personality. The neural networks that process the community moderation data improve with the amount of data put into them, which is what spurred the two studios to pioneer the sharing of data between game companies.
“Disruptive behavior isn’t a problem that is unique to games – every company that has an online social platform is working to address this challenging space … We’re hoping this partnership allows us to safely share data between our companies to tackle some of these harder problems to detect where we only have a few training examples. By sharing data, we’re actually building a bigger pool of training data, and we will be able to really detect this disruptive behavior and ultimately remove it from our games.” (Wesley Kerr, Head of Tech Research at Riot Games)
“It’s a very complex problem to be solved, both in terms of science trying to find the best algorithm to detect any type of content. But also, from a very practical standpoint, making sure that we’re able to share data between the two companies through a framework that will allow you to do that, while preserving the privacy of players and the confidentiality.” (Yves Jacquier, Ubisoft Exec. Director)
At the same time, expectations need to be managed when it comes to what these two gaming studios will be able to achieve via this collaboration. Community moderation is one of the topics of our times, as we have seen with the content controversies on Twitter and Facebook. In gaming, it can be particularly challenging as game and/or game genre specific language could be taken as harmful when looked at from a gamer-to-gamer context. For example, “I’m gonna kill you for that”. Dealing with false positives will be tricky.
“Making online communities more inclusive is an ongoing mission that will never be fully completed. With that being said, by working together, we can make meaningful improvements.” (Riot Games)
“Disruptive player behaviors is an issue that we take very seriously but also one that is very difficult to solve … we believe that, by coming together as an industry, we will be able to tackle this issue more effectively.” (Yves Jacquier, Ubisoft Exec. Director)
“Our mission is to help anyone tell a compelling story, and AI-generated content brings the power of expressive storytelling to even more people. Our DALL·E 2 integration is just the start of Tome’s journey to bring generative storytelling to life” (Keith Peiris, Co-Founder and CEO at TOME)
Tome, which bills itself as a new “storytelling format for work and important ideas” would rather you tell stories rather than merely show slides. To this end, they have announced an integration with OpenAI’s DALL-E, the Microsoft and Elon Musk backed artificial intelligence (AI) powered text-to-image generative art platform.
“Tome’s magic is that it reduces the gap between a great idea and the compelling story that brings it to life. Thanks to its intuitive storytelling format, Tome is sparking a new generation of creators and thought leaders. Tome’s integration with DALL·E 2 unlocks even more powerful capabilities and gives everyone a first look at the tremendous potential of generative AI in the future of storytelling.” (Reid Hoffman, board member at Tome and OpenAI)
DALL-E, and similar generative AI art platforms such as Midjourney and Stable Diffusion have stirred up the digital art scene due to their ability to conjure up remarkably high-quality art within seconds from a few simple prompts from the user.
Digital artists are also wary of these AI platforms ‘stealing’ their art by using images available online for their machine-learning algorithms freely - in both senses of the word, both without having to ask for their consent and without having to pay any royalties to the source artist.
Additionally, a few artists’ feathers were ruffled when an AI-generated artwork won a traditional art competition, only to reveal the artificial manner of production after the fact.
Despite these concerns, Tome hopes that this new integration will help creators use the endless possibilities and convenience of AI-generated images for visual storytelling that is more powerful yet easier than ever before. Try Tome for free at https://tome.app
“Visuals play a big role in storytelling, and anyone should be able to tell a compelling story without having to rely on an illustrator or settling for boring stock photography. With Tome’s new DALL·E 2 integration, anyone can quickly create original artwork that helps convey their idea, no matter how specific. It’s a natural extension of our expressive storytelling format” (Keith Peiris)
Review written by Quoc Nguyen