On Mar. 22, Tencent announced its first-ever luxury brand Honor of Kings skin. Dubbed The "Spirit of Nature" and the "Spirit of Forest and Ocean", Heroine Yao will receieve two new Burberry-themed skins available for purchase exclusively for players within mainland China.
If you don't know about HoK, there is a good chance you don't live in China. Developed by TiMi Studios (owned by Tencent Games) HoK is among the most highest-grossing video games ever made. The game routinely boasts 100M daily users was also released as Arena of Valor for markets outside of mainland China for Android, iOS and the Nintendo Switch.
Now, HoK has joined League of Legends, Final Fantasy XIII, PUBG: Mobile and the growing list of video games utilizing luxury brands in their in-game digital offerings. While high fashion and gaming seem like very distant industries, the benefits of these partnerships are easy to understand.
Video game developers need to find new ways of engaging with their players and lifestyle brands, traditionally reliant on physical products, need a digital presence to keep them relevant with a younger generation. The result is a digital skin that takes full advantage of a luxury brands aesthetic produced at a fraction of the cost. Video games gain another shiny object to entice players with and fashion brands gain a new way to build consumer loyalty.
Comment Josie Zhang, President of Burberry in China:
“Online games are a platform on which we can tell brand stories in ways that we know really resonate with our customers in China. Introducing elements of Burberry’s house codes into one of Tencent Games’ environments allows customers to engage with the brand in more novel and freeform ways. Just like Burberry’s founder, we want to empower our community to explore their surroundings, whether it is online or offline.”
Comment from Mars Hou, Vice President of Tencent Games:
“Working with Burberry and Mr. Tisci brought to us a lot of sparks in branding ideas and product design. The project signals a unique joint point where the East and West cultures have found a way to merge and create together. I’m sure we will surprise everyone with something really different and looking forward to the day when you can see what we’ve created in 2021.”
On the official press release, Tencent and Burberry confirmed that their research revealed a "sustained growth in interest in online games among young Chinese consumers." Factor in Chinese youth culture's fashion-friendly tendencies and the idea practically develops itself — why not sell high-end luxury skins to gamers?
All in all, the skins look great and it isn't hard to imagine droves of players embracing this trend and eventually demanding more high-fashion looks for more characters. In a world where NFT art is selling for millions and Fortnite fashion shows exist, Burberry X Honor of Kings further blurs the line between the physical and the digital world.
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