While Meta continues to work on advanced VR interaction, with an eye toward hosting the next stage of digital connection, Snapchat is charting its own path into the future of the metaverse, which may or may not be owned by Zuck and his team.
In addition to developing its own AR tools, a field in which it remains a leading presence, Snap is also creating more advanced avatar options through its popular Bitmoji platform, which has allowed users to create digital images of themselves since 2007. .
The latest development on this front is Bitmoji fashion, with a variety of well-known brands signing on to create digital replicas of their products, with which users can dress up their Bitmoji characters.
The latest brand to sign up for this is Carhartt, which has teamed up with Snap on a new range of Bitmoji gear.
According to Carhartt:
“Inspired by Carhartt’s most popular men’s and women’s styles, the new digital offering enables Snapchat and Bitmoji users everywhere to authentically represent themselves in the digital world through a variety of products and colours. The digital outfit includes the brand’s iconic Detroit Jacket, K87 Pocket Short Sleeve T-Shirt, Force Sweatshirt, BO1 Double Front Pants and Duck Bib Overalls.”
Carhartt joins a growing list of top brands creating their own Bitmoji fashion collections, with Adidas, To converse, Nike, Jordan, crocodiles, levi’s, American Eaglewhitish, vans, Nickelodeon Y ralph lauren all now host official Bitmoji item sets, providing greater branding potential for their products, while also giving Bitmoji users more customizable options for their in-app renderings.
Which appears to be a key trend in the upcoming metaverse shift. Part of the recent rise of NFTs relates to 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 avatars and equivalent representations for them to use in the environment. end of the metaverse. .
That seems less likely, at least from an NFT perspective, as NFT sales continue to plummet. But the concept that people will want to create unique digital characters to represent their personality in this new space will definitely become a major trend, as we’ve already seen in our first examples of what metaverse interaction might look like.
The current representatives we have for the larger view of the metaverse are game worlds, such as Roblox and Fortnite, both of which generate significant revenue from in-game skin sales. In fact, Minecraft has built a the entire economy of the creator around custom character and feature designs, with users looking to edit and customize their in-game portrayals to better stand out from the crowd, with items based on achievements, spending, rarity, etc.
Eventually, if all goes according to plan, we’ll see similar trends in the metaverse as well, though it’s less likely to involve Bored Apes and more likely to facilitate interactive customization, in a wide range of ways, which will also provide all new opportunities. of branding through sponsored collections, like these Bitmoji offers.
And that too will eventually lead to direct sales of digital clothing, which is the next stage of Snapchat’s vision.
Back in 2020 Snap filed a patent which outlined how its Bitmoji fashion process would eventually see Snap partner with a variety of fashion retailers to provide Bitmoji versions of their items. That would provide a ton of new clothing options for your in-app avatar, while also giving brands new opportunities to showcase their latest products in an engaging and interactive way.
The double benefit of online and real-world product sales is a compelling draw and will no doubt become more and more popular as we get closer to the future of the metaverse.
But then again, there’s also the question of whether Bitmoji characters will be able to make the leap into the metaverse and whether you’ll be able to use the same digital avatars across multiple apps and platforms.
That’s the ideal vision for the future of the metaverse, where universal schematics will allow anyone to build avatars that can be used in Meta, Snapchat, Fortnite, Minecraft, etc. That would mean that the character you build in an app will become your digital representation. in all worlds.
It’s an ambitious undertaking, requiring a lot of agreement to make it work, but eventually, it could be that your Bitmoji cartoon will, in fact, become your universal avatar across apps.
At least, that’s what Snap is building, which could facilitate all the new product promotion and display opportunities.