The digital-only items are part of the Gucci’s time-limited collection for Roblox.
Anyone whose virtual alter ego is wandering around the Roblox online game platform these days might run into other avatars sporting Gucci handbags, sunglasses or hats.
The digital-only items were part of a limited Gucci collection for Roblox, a step by the fashion house that prides itself on Italian craftsmanship to enter an expanding virtual space where many of its youngest admirers already are at home.
Players in the metaverse - where virtual worlds, augmented reality and the internet meet - say the big-name fashion collaboration represents a new era of virtual-real world interplay, a space in which smart product placement meets the desire of consumers to express their personalities in the virtual world.
While the Gucci Garden space on Roblox was open for two weeks last month, the platform's 42 million users could spend from $1.20 to $9 on collectible and limited-edition Gucci accessories.
Items were hidden in the virtual Gucci Garden, which echoed real-world Gucci Garden exhibitions in Florence and other global cities. Some items were offered for free, and the exclusivity was underlined with limited time releases.
The experience allowed Roblox's core demographic - roughly ages 9 to 15 - a digital entrée to the rarified world of luxury goods that few can dream of in the real world. Now that the space is closed, the limited edition items have even greater cachet. According to the developer, more than 4.5 million items were "won."
Many parents may scratch their heads at paying real money to accessorize an avatar, but Generation Z players have long been prepped for this evolution.
While the Gucci items users bought only can be "worn” on the Roblox platform, it is just the tip of the metaverse iceberg.
Similar items made and traded in the metaverse are known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) - digital objects backed by blockchain technology certifying their authenticity, and often uniqueness.
NFTs, which might be anything from personalized "skins,” or costumes, for avatars to digital art, can be traded ad-infinitum, potentially growing in value with each trade. Their ownership is not limited to any single platform.
Even on Roblox, which has its own marketplace where items can be traded, the Gucci Dionysus Bag with Bee was resold for over $4,100 worth of Robux - exceeding the price of a real Gucci Dionysus bag and a huge premium of the original price of 475 Roblox, roughly $4.75.
Only 851 of the bags were available during two releases, making it the rarest piece in the collection, compared with the 2.6 million wide-brim denim hats that were snapped up.
The metaverse’s potential for the fashion world goes well beyond the world of gaming and extends into digital ecosystems that are still under construction. So-called decentralized worlds are seeing a huge influx of money, with billions being spent to iron out technical issues.
It's only natural that fashion would pave the way for the less digitally savvy consumers, who may shy away from Bitcoin and balk at multimillion-dollar sales of NFTs that have captured the attention of artists and collectors alike.
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