Considered one of the leading luxury fashion brands for innovation and technology, Burberry has joined forces with popular digital game, Minecraft. Burberry: Freedom to Go Beyond launches 1 November, when players will be able to access the Burberry-themed adventure, in-game items and skins, physical capsule collection and receive updates for exclusive events and limited edition products. For Burberry’s latest expedition into digital games, the Minecraft experience is describe
scribed as “a fast-paced journey into the unknown” where players can explore four different worlds with a strong focus on nature and exploration. There will be 15 downloadable skins influenced by fashion, fantasy and adventure for players to collect. In addition, Burberry is releasing a capsule collection consisting of physical pieces that will incorporate the Minecraft pixel aesthetic. Members of the Burberry community will be able to shop the capsule collection 24 hours before the public launch. There are a couple of hints as to what items will be in the range, these include a Burberry scarf featuring the traditional check and Burberry name in block letters as well as a grey graphic hoodie with 8-bit flowers on the front. The capsule collection will be available in select stores around the world, Spring Street, New York; Shenzhen Bay, China; Regent Street, London; Omotesando, Tokyo; Cheongdam-dong Seoul, Korea; Taipei 101, Taiwan Area, China; and Siam Paragon, Thailand. Track record of experimentation The British fashion house has been dabbling in digital mini-games since 2019, initially with B-Bounce and then B-Surf in 2020. In 2021, Burberry partnered with Mythical Games, a blockchain-based game technology company, to include Burberry digital figurines for Mythical Games’ NFT game Blankos Block Party. Earlier this year, Burberry announced it would be working with Mythical Games for a second consecutive year on a new NFT collection for the game. Burberry may be well-versed in the world of digital games, but Minecraft has had its fair share of fashion collaborations too. Three notable partnerships include a range with A Bathing Ape’s sub-brand AAPE; Puma sneakers with two Minecraft-inspired colourways – friar brown and fern green, and grey violet and blue atoll; and a line of Minecraft-themed Lacoste clothing including T-shirts, shorts, sweatshirts, polos and hoodies released in Guangzhou, China. The intersection of digital and physical is getting closer with Tommy Hilfiger recently showcasing its latest collection at New York Fashion Week as well as being live streamed via the Tommy Play game in Roblox. The physical collection was available to purchase immediately after the runway show with Roblox users gaining access to exclusive digital collectibles. Games out in front Fashion’s fascination with games is creating a lucrative avenue for awareness and engagement, which is no wonder, when the video game industry is estimated to reach $196.8 billion in value this year with approximately 3.2 billion gamers worldwide. Minecraft is one of the most popular games today, and the best-selling video game of all time. During 2021, there were 140 million active players immersed in the game at least once a month, many purchasing in-game content and add-ons such as skin and character packs and Minecraft Worlds generating over $318 million in revenue. Surprisingly, when arriving at the Burberry website at the moment, you’re greeted by an interactive hero banner promoting the Burberry x Minecraft experience. The fact that the brand is bringing this collaboration to the front of one of its main retail channels highlights its investment into the world of digital games. Future-focused retail channels As the two industries converge, digital games are providing new retail channels, creating a bridge to a youthful audience in the form of digital collectibles, skins and in-game items. Similar to Burberry cosmetics, Burberry is establishing a brand presence where young people spend a lot of time and money. Challenger brands are gamifying the fashion experience. For example, Aglet is an app that counts your steps and rewards you with Aglet coins to buy virtual sneakers with differing earn rates. Users can also buy gold Aglet coins in their currency to access rare items. This year, creators of the app launched various virtual sneakers with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as well as limited-edition physical sneakers to match the virtual pair. This space is heating up quickly as more luxury brands strike up collaborations with popular digital games. However, luxury brands such as Burberry that are building credibility early are gaining immense traction. With a sound and proven strategy, they’re owning new retail channels with active consumers while other entrants are only just starting to see the opportunity. As Minecreaft generates hundreds of millions in revenue, Burberry: Freedom to Go Beyond is set to appeal to a different Minecraft audience, one that will be quick to obtain as many of the digital and physical items as possible, hitting a sweet spot for millions of people around the world who are loyal Burberry fans and aren’t afraid to admit they play video games too. Burberry has made some of the most innovative moves in fashion, and it’s a key player to watch. Keeping pace with consumer behaviour and technology to stay relevant will inevitably secure Burberry’s future with emerging generations while maintaining its heritage values and significant contribution to the industry.