Gamification: Fashion plays the Game

Gamification is the new trend which is driving the fashion and luxury industry in a parallel universe made of fun, technology and profit: the videogames world.

“We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.”

Benjamin Franklin

That’s what Benjamin Franklin said centuries ago, but apparently fashion industry has dusted up this quote, by turning it into its engine for growth.

Why should fashion and luxury be interested in the videogame industry?

The videogame industry is worth €118 billion in 2020, recording a growth of +26% compared to the previous year. Players are usually millennials and generation Z with unique set of values and expectations which will drive the fashion and luxury industry in the next years.

A particular attention is given to the true-luxury consumers, who are at a constant searching of extravagance, fun and new form of creativity in brands and products. They generate about 30% of the global luxury market, which is expected to reach 395 billion by 2025. True luxury consumers are mainly from China, the driving force, and they will be responsible of a market growth of 75% by 2025 according to the Boston Consulting Group.

In addition, the videogame industry has been developing new technologies, and it has been the first to adopt virtual and augmented reality. The recreation of environments ever closer to reality, offers the player a unique interactive experience. Nonetheless, fashion industry is going in the same direction, investing in technologies which can make the customer journey unforgettable, combining online and offline.


Gamification. What does it mean?

The term gamification is referred to the application of game designs and techniques in different contexts. Games are not only for fun, they can also be used to educate, to build relationships, to engage and, why not, to sell.

What is the link between fashion and gaming?

You can now realize that many benefits provided by games actually do coincide with luxury brands milestones.

The desirability of the trophy at the end of the game can be translated into the dream factor. It is this latter to guide the consumer through experiential luxury where eventually the product is just the prize, the tangible aspect of that exclusive experience.

The strong commitment of the player to pass the levels, is nothing but a journey made up of risks and emotions; it delivers an extraordinary experience to the player, who is determined to win the game. So it is for Luxury Fashion brands, determined to win the players of today, aka the customers of tomorrow.

Luxury is about the dream factor.

gamification, Louis Vuitton for the League of Legends
Louis Vuitton for the League of Legends

Why has the fashion luxury industry embraced gamification?

Now more than ever, luxury brands need to communicate their own set of values through authenticity and engagement. The process of co-creation with the customer provides customized and singular experiences enclosed in timeless and iconic products.

You can now understand that videogames are a valid strategy to enable luxury brands to reach their target customers, gaining important insights and developing omnichannel strategies. Users not only are increasing their presence on mobile devices, but they are subscribing to new platforms dedicated to games like Twitch, creating communities worldwide.

Gamification encourages the brand advocacy, it strengthens a loyal relationship and an interactive communication between consumers and brands.

From red carpets to videogames: the novelty of virtual catwalks

Next week, December 6th, Balenciaga is launching the FW collection 2021 on “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow”, a videogame set in 2031.
It is not the first catwalk on a videogame platform, as shown by Animal Crossing: New Horizon, the last version of Nintendo.

Big names are literally vying to dress the avatars that can boast outfits of Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Craig Green, Valentino and of many others. Released last March, in less than two months more than 13 million copies were sold; in addition, a virtual catwalk was realized with SS 20 Collections, accompanied by professional photographer and music directors.
The previous year, in 2019, Jeremy Scott dressed The Sims 4 with the Moschino Freezer Bunny hoodie, buying then an extension of the game.

The gamification in the luxury industry means much more than experiential marketing and virtual catwalks: it is a real gamified shopping experience.

Boudoir Numérique’s montage with visuals from © Loewe, Valentino, Craig Green, Fendi, Chanel, Balenciaga and Kara Chung from the Instagram account Animal Crossing Fashion Archive

From storytelling to storydoing, gamification is the key

After the launch of Gucci Arcade, inspired by the playrooms of 70s and 80s, Gucci has partnered first with Drest and then with Tennis Clash. Tennis players can wear real outfits created by the Maison, but that’s not all: while playing the game, players can directly access to the e-commerce and buy the exclusive outfits worn by their avatars.

Few months ago, Gucci launched Off the Grid, a collection created with renewable materials and sustainable sources, in partnership with two famous gamers on The Sims 4.

A true case of innovability, where sustainability meets innovation.

Gucci has proven to be a champion also in the storytelling: users can retrace the evolution of the iconic sneaker Gucci Ace through a virtual environment which links past, present and future.

Gamification: the leader of an interactive customer journey

Last year Louis Vuitton started a collaboration with the League of Legends, where special looks were designed and made available both for the avatars and for the players.

In the same year Burberry launched B-bounce, where players could collect logos, customised GIFs and virtual branded jackets; the best players had the chance to win the real jacket worn by their avatar. The brand was also the first one to partner with the game platform Twitch last September, in occasion of the London Fashion Week.

Fred Perry and Raf Simons have developed a sort of Google Street View, where users can buy the outfits worn by the avatars passed on the street. A game that hopefully will come true: how many timed do we walk in the street wondering where do people get their outfits?!

Gamification connects East and West

In order to connect eastern and western consumers, different companies have used the gamification strategy. Burberry has just renewed the partnership with the Chinese company Tencent Games to place its products in the game Honour of the Kings.

During the Paris Fashion week 2020, Louboutin has partnered with the Korean app Zepeto, where people can interact with a tridimensional avatar created from their selfies. For the presentation of SS 21 Collection, the designer created the “Loubi World” where users could try on shoes and clothes, attending the show of the singer-avatar King Princess and meeting virtually the designer’s avatar.

Loubi World by Christian Louboutin
Loubi World by Christian Louboutin

A blast from the past is possible with gamification

The ‘80s are charming for many other luxury brands: after Gucci, also Louis Vuitton has launched Endless Runner, inspired by the 80s and by New York landscape. Same atmosphere for Adidas, which has created a videogame 8-bit on snapchat for the Major League Baseball Playoffs; users can buy directly two pairs of shoes inspired by the game.

Engagement and exclusivity, gamification is the new luxury

In order to enhance its exclusivity, the French brand Kenzo gave the possibility to a limited number of people to play its game. Users had to defeat the opponents to win the opportunity of buying one of the 100 exclusive pairs of Sonic sneaker.

A further step has been done by Nike that, in occasion of the launch of its React shoe, created a virtual environment in Shanghai called Reactland.

People could wear the shoes and run on treadmills connected to digital characters projected on the screen. The activities of climbing buildings and running undertaken by the virtual characters, increased consumers’ confidence in the product, that was purchased by 48% of the players.

The Sport Brand has also acquired Tally/TraceMe, a platform where fans can interact with their sport idols. The community in growing so fast through the engagement during sport events that it could become the starting point of a gamification strategy.

The gamification phenomena has been increasing in the past months.
Due to the pandemic, luxury brands have to rely on alternative channels to reach consumers who were trying to escape the walls of the house by populating virtual worlds.

Innovation and sustainability are not simple trends, they are the future. They go hand in hand and they are of paramount importance to favor an ecosystem capable of generating changes and positive impacts.

Digital transformation is not an enemy, it is the key to achieve sustainability.

“When the going gets tough the tough start playing”.


  • Franco
    November 28, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Articolo illuminante, esplicativo nell’informazione ed esaustivo nel contenuto: l’interesse, anche per chi si approccia alla tematica per la prima volta, é la naturale conseguenza. Congratulazioni!

  • Pietro Lanza
    November 28, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    great article and great writer!


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