Other netizens – in particular, gamers – are using digital ensembles to signify their gaming prowess. When Fortnite players enter this virtual world in a 'default skin', for example, the variety of skins now available has become aligned with players' social status, signifying their in-game wealth or skill level achieved through hours of play. Other games are using strategies to generate value around skins. In the multi-player shooter game Overwatch, skins can be randomly found in virtual treasure chests known as loot boxes. Special-edition skins are also launched as part of in-game events, in some ways echoing the hype culture and drop strategies found in streetwear.
As more brands leap into the virtual world, creating purposeful digital assets will be essential. Consider, firstly, the interests and values of the netizens you are trying to reach, and how you can create assets that better align with their sense of self.
AM Darke's mission to build the Open Source Afro Hair Library aims to bridge representational gaps in video games. Yet such projects emphasise the continued need for intersectional input, not only in how games are designed and built, but who is building them. How can you create inclusive strategies from the inside out to improve people's experience of virtual worlds?
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You can also register to attend our free Meta-tainment Futures webinar on 11 February to find out more about the future of avatars in the metaverse and beyond.