For many, video games are more of a lifestyle than a hobby, and studies have shown that passionate gamers (particularly in the realm of eSports) often share a crossover passion for other lifestyle brands.
Nike, for example, comes with its own loyal fan base of sports enthusiasts and sneaker collectors. When the company joined forces with EA to promote FIFA 17 with a new cleat, the coming together of fandoms just made sense. “This collaboration came together rather organically,” Nathan Van Hook, senior design director for Nike Football told The Mirror. “Our design team spends a lot of our free time playing football—both on the pitch and via video game—we’re pretty obsessed with both. We wanted to create something memorable that brings together the physical and virtual worlds.”
Vans is another brand that represents far more than shoes. Surfers, skateboarders and more don footwear from this iconic brand as an expression of their active lifestyle. Earlier this year, Vans powered up with Nintendo to offer officially-branded shoes featuring retro game controllers and icons like Mario, Link and Donkey Kong.
In January, Louis Vuitton made an unprecedented move by casting a fictional video game character as its spokesmodel. Lightning, a recurring character in the Final Fantasy series, appeared in a number of magazine ads and videos as the star of Louis Vuitton’s Spring-Summer 2016 “Series 4” collection. The partnership with game developer, Square Enix was a celebration of not only Lightning as a character, but of the “global, heroic woman,” as stated on the company’s website.
“This collaboration is not just a promotion of a game, and it is a great honor that the character herself received an offer from a world famous brand,” said Tetsuya Nomura, Lightning’s character designer. “As a result of this collaboration, this has infused new breath into the character.”
Bandai Namco is now offering limited edition jackets inspired by Tekken 7. Previously, merchandise for the popular fighting game was limited to t-shirts and ball caps but now includes a numbered, premium sukajan jacket that retails for $449. We’ve seen how fashionistas have been open to video game crossover, but will gamers be willing to pay premium for designer fashion? Abelina Villegas, e-commerce specialist at Bandai Namco is confident the answer is “yes.”
Designed by Carrie Sleutskaya of Project Runway fame, these jackets are highly-detailed with 440,000 stitches in its embroidery. “Our goal on the Bandai Namco Official Store is to develop merchandise for our most passionate fans,” Villegas told [a]listdaily, “so the creation of this kind of high fashion piece was also an opportunity for us to expand the messaging around our Tekken 7 campaign to acknowledge that Tekken is a lifestyle brand.”