Do Non-Tech Companies Need to Be in the Metaverse?

By January 12, 2022Metaverse
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The metaverse is attracting lots of interest from the world's biggest brands. But what's the payoff for companies who aren't in the tech world? In this video from "The Virtual Opportunities Show" recorded on Jan. 4, Fool analyst Asit Sharma and Fool contributor Jose Najarro tackle that question as it relates to companies like Nike (NYSE:NKE).

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Asit Sharma: The reason I wanted to just discuss this briefly is this is one of the questions that I stumble on as an investor in this space, even though I'm very enthused by it. It's the utility of having this world where there's no real reason for a brand to be on it, except that they are eyeballs there. The utility of brand having its own space in the metaverse, if it doesn't serve much of a function, it's a little disappointing to me, but I get the business model. Look at Instagram. Why would a brand want to be on a place like Instagram? I couldn't understand the logic of this about three odd years ago when I was looking at YETI as an investment. YETI grew its brand exponentially by being on Instagram and amassing this huge following of people who wanted its really upscale objects, its coolers, its drinkware, etc. I do get the principal, but I always have a little bit of issue with understanding why a brand would just go to a space without some type of purpose or other type of utility. I guess that's the nature and the beast of advertising. Just curious what you guys think about that. Doesn't that make the metaverse like a place where people are going because [laughs] [inaudible 05:28:30]

Jose Najarro: I'm going to save a piece of this we're not going to discuss right now to the end because that's going to be part of my future guest. But I think it's as simple as that. To some extent, the metaverse and the actual utility for some of these companies like Nike is just the advertisement, that's the only utility that's coming from them. Nike is a pretty interesting play, like you mentioned, they created that Roblox world, which was somewhat interesting. But they also recently acquired a small company called Artefact, which has created these digital assets shoes. Some of these digital assets shoes have been used in a form of blockchain game. I think it's called The Central, and I forget the actual name of it. But those shoes have actually been created in that platform. To some extent, Nike can start selling these digital shoes within that game, I guess it could be a move.

But I think in the future, we have all these crypto games that are just scattered upon each other. But eventually, it will probably just become one game where one digital assets can just be used around the whole game. Being this game being the metaverse with just some form of block-chain game. I think that could be the future move, but that's something I don't see happening anytime soon. But I can see how they might just be pre-planning to move in that direction.

Asit Sharma: Yes, Nike is so far ahead of so many peers in the way it thinks about the world. I think that they really grasp the idea of what scarcity is in the virtual world. They understand those principles. They have an analog in the real-world. Guys helping remember what's the name of the platform? It's an exchange where you can buy and sell rare shoes. Nike's and Air Jordan's were really the field that made this platform big. Are you familiar with this? There's an online exchange of rare Nike's and others shoes where actually you can buy shoes that are just retail without any scarcity value as well as its branched out. I will try to look while we're here in this session and give you the name of that. But Nike has been an avid participant in that. I almost think that the way they roll out successive generations of Air Jordan's, but with the scarcity factor in the real-world, it just shape their thinking. They already get why something that's immaterial would have value and they are so quick to move into something like Decentraland, as Jose mentioned.

Maybe that's a company that we should keep following closely because they have gone in my eyes from this really great innovator, that's a technical innovator, fabric innovator, if you will, to something that's quite different. There were seeds of this in both, I think Adidas and Nike years ago started with you being able to build your shoe online and have those done on a one-off basis and shipped to you much earlier than other companies were offering any customization and drop-shipping. Now that's just seems very common place. It's almost like they have seen ahead of the curve ever since Phil Knight and his colleagues took waffle irons to the back of tennis shoes. I don't think Nike gets enough credit in the investment world for their far reaching thought and the way they see the world.

Jose Najarro: Another solution I thought out and the more is, these digital assets to some extent are a lot cheaper to build compared to a physical asset. It can also be more of like a consumer study if they bring these digital assets to some online game and they released 10 shoes. Out of those 10 shoes they see this is the digital shoe that sells the most. Now they have some study that, hey, our consumers like this style. Now instead of us developing 10 different shoes for the physical world, we just have to create this one shoe because this is the one that sells the most and we can profit the most out of it. That can also be another utility that can be grabbed from it.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

Asit Sharma has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Demitri Kalogeropoulos owns Nike. Jose Najarro owns Roblox Corporation. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Nike and Roblox Corporation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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