As Meta continues to work on cutting-edge VR interaction, with a view to hosting the next phase of digital connection, Snapchat is forging its own path in building the metaverse future, which may or may not be owned by Zuck and team.
In addition to developing its own AR tools, an area in which it remains a leading presence, Snap is also building more advanced avatar options through its popular Bitmoji platform, which has allowed users to create digital likenesses of themselves since 2007.
The latest advancement in this area is Bitmoji fashion, where a range of well-known brands sign up to create digital replicas of their products, which users can then dress up their Bitmoji characters in.
The latest brand to sign up for this is Carhartt, which has partnered with Snap to develop a new line of Bitmoji items.
According to Carhartt:
“Inspired by Carhartt’s most popular styles for men and women, the new digital offering allows Snapchat and Bitmoji users everywhere to authentically represent themselves in the digital world through a variety of products and colors. The digital apparel includes the brand’s iconic Detroit Jacket, K87 Short Sleeve T-Shirt, Force Sweatshirt, BO1 Double Front Pants and Duck Bib Overalls.”
Carhartt joins a growing list of top brands building their own Bitmoji fashion collections, with Adidas, converse, Nike, Jordan, Crocs, Levi’s, American EagleOff-white, vans, Nickelodeon and Ralph Lauren they all now host official Bitmoji item sets, providing expanded branding potential for their products, while also giving Bitmoji users more customizable options for their in-app images.
Which looks set to be a major trend in the coming metaverse shift. Some of the recent NFT boom aligns with the concept of “digital identity,” with many seeing their cartoonish profile pictures as a new form of personalization and expression, which will eventually translate into equivalent avatars and images that they can use in the final metaverse environment.
That seems less likely, at least from an NFT perspective, as NFT sales continue to fall. But the concept that people want to create unique digital characters to represent their personalities in this new space is sure to become a major trend, as we’ve already seen in our early examples of what metaverse interaction could look like.
The current proxies we have for the broader metaverse view are game worlds, such as Roblox and Fortnite, both of which generate significant revenue from the sale of in-game skins. In fact, Minecraft has a whole creative economy around custom character and feature designs, where users want to edit and personalize their in-game graphics to stand out better, with elements based on performance, cost, rarity, etc.
Ultimately, if all goes according to plan, we’ll see similar trends in the metaverse – although Bored Apes is less likely to be involved and allows for more interactive customization, in a wide variety of ways, which also includes all new branding opportunities through sponsored collections. , like these Bitmoji offers.
And that will eventually lead to direct sales of digital clothing as well, which is the next phase of Snapchat’s vision.
Back in 2020 Snap patent pending outlining how Snap would eventually partner with a range of fashion retailers through the Bitmoji fashion process to provide Bitmoji versions of their items. That would open up a lot of new clothing options for your avatar in the app, while also giving the brands new opportunities to showcase their latest products in an engaging, interactive way.
The dual benefit of online and real product sales is a tantalizing draw and will no doubt grow in popularity as we get closer to the metaverse future.
But on the other hand, it’s also questionable whether Bitmoji characters can make the leap to the metaverse and whether you can use the same digital avatars for different apps and platforms.
That’s the ideal vision for the metaverse future, where universal schemes allow anyone to build avatars that can be used in Meta, Snapchat, Fortnite, Minecraft, etc. That would then mean that the character you build in one app, you digital representation is in all worlds.
It’s an ambitious undertaking, requiring a lot of agreement to make it work – but eventually your Bitmoji caricature may actually become your universal avatar across all apps.
At least that’s what Snap is working towards, which could facilitate all of the new promotion and product presentation opportunities.