Last month a digital-only version of a Gucci bag sold on gaming platform Roblox for about US$4,115. Again, digital-only. No physical bag that can be brought to brunch. At the time, this was about US$800 more than the real life version of the same Gucci bag. So why not go and buy that one instead?
I am sure that most of you are scratching your head at this and wondering: who the hell is valuing the digital more than the physical? Could it be that status and signaling — perhaps the real purposes of a designer bag — are even more important online in the world of Roblox than in real life? In this case, it wasn’t even an NFT and so presumably there aren’t any value claims around scarcity and authenticity. (Full disclosure: I don’t know how Roblox works.)
It’s important to keep in mind that meaningful innovation often starts out looking pretty silly to some/most. And to me, this feels like one of those times. What we are clearly seeing is a blurring between our digital and physical worlds. In fact, just today I was reading about a slew of digital-only clothing companies that sell, you know, contactless cyber fashion. One of those companies is Tribute (embedded post above).
The way it works is that you first buy a piece of digital clothing (which can sell out just like regular clothing). You then send them a picture of yourself and the company goes and renders that piece of digital clothing onto your photo. The result is what you see above, which to me looks fairly realistic (though at the same time fantastical, which I think is part of the point).
As out-there as this may seem, this strikes me as something that could become a very big deal. What is real on Instagram anyways? I can also see this being applied to other industries, including real estate. Maybe that is already happening.
What do you think?