FaZe Clan Steps Into the Metaverse
Right. So let’s get the news out first. FaZe Clan, the American esports organization, will be partnering with The Sandbox to enter the metaverse. Now, on the face of it, you may assume this could be like any other strategic partnership teams get into in a bid to boost their profile and outreach. While that holds true, this is also a transformative step into the future, a step into the unknown all at once – a world nascent, yet advanced.
So what does this mean? FaZe will develop a virtual plot of land called FaZe World, where they will host events, games and experiences, apart from conducting digital product releases. This is aimed at generating a new revenue stream, opening up a viable world of alternatives. This marks yet another step towards innovation, something of a signature stamp for FaZe as they’ve evolved as a team since launching as a collective of gamers who played Call of Duty in 2010.
The Evolution of FaZe Clan’s Business
“FaZe Clan’s leadership position at the apex of gaming and youth culture presents an ideal opportunity to build bridges and lead the gaming community at large into the metaverse,” Lee Trink, CEO of FaZe Clan said. “Through FaZe World and our partnership with The Sandbox, our already digitally native fans can experience FaZe Clan in a new immersive way.”
Since then, over the past 12 years, they’ve grown to become a major brand in entertainment and gaming, attracting several top-tier A-list investors and have become a multi-million dollar digital entertainment company with millions of followers. In March this year, hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg joined FaZe as one of the directors, and their client roster has swelled to over 100 members since inception. At its core, innovation has been one of the guiding principles for FaZe, and their decision to enter the metaverse is in line with living up to that reputation.
The Sandbox are known to host an array of real estate ventures, having partnered with some top lifestyle brands like Adidas and Gucci. Now, FaZe join that long list with FaZe World, which is going to be situated in a 12×12 plot in the Sandbox metaverse. Plots surrounding FaZe World can be purchased by the public, giving fans the prestige of owning a piece of virtual land next door to FaZe. The metaverse is still a novel concept, though one that is gaining ground and popularity by the day. Its potential is yet to be proven, but what it can guarantee is a new level of engagement with fans.
Sporting teams entering the metaverse hasn’t been a novelty. Very recently, the Atlanta Braves unveiled spectacular plans of being the first MLB team to enter the metaverse with a digital version of Truist Park, which is set to debut in April. English Premier League Club Manchester City also announced plans to create a virtual version of their home ground, the Etihad Stadium.
Many of these ideas of having an identity in the metaverse are part of a robust expansion plan driven by the challenges of Covid-19. This digital-first strategy could yet be the next big thing in the future.
FaZe’s initiative, like some of the others, is a step to explore ways in which they can capitalize on the concept of virtual reality when it’s still nascent. Thought to initially be a place for entertainment and an escape into the highs of the virtual world, the footprints of several sporting leagues on the metaverse points to an immersive environment that could help build a completely new fanbase and provide their players a unique sporting experience. It provides a platform for fans and followers to sit in the same room and take part in the team’s engagement activities even though they may be thousands of miles away.
FaZe Clan’s Innovative Approach
This foray into the metaverse comes on the back of another significant step. Last December, FaZe signed a multi-year partnership with crypto payments infrastructure provider MoonPay, thereby introducing their millions of fans to the crypto economy and NFTs.
The essence of the partnership was to develop a synergy between the two brands to create original content for the FaZe Clan community, including things such as new original content franchises, talent-driven events, and campaigns that can be used to further drive their swelling fan base. In turn, MoonPay would benefit from leveraging FaZe’s fan base, for whom they would provide extensive expertise in crypto, NFTs, and security, and share knowledge on the complexities of the digital world.
FaZe are among the few who have constantly been on the lookout for new engagements, through strategic partnerships. Recently, they partnered with DoorDash to market a range of sandwiches as part of their lifestyle offering. DoorDash’s only esports partnership also brought with it the promise of integrated content.
The two partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts to deliver crafty menus to further leverage their brand. As per the latest filing, sponsorship accounted for nearly 60% of FaZe Clan’s revenue, which is an indication of how these strategic partnerships align with their end goal.
In August, the company went public to add yet another chapter to its eventful history. No other esports organisation has managed to raise as much capital as FaZe have, roughly $110 million. It’s nearly double what 100 Thieves, another esports brand that has branched into lifestyle offerings, raised last year.
They also find themselves in elite company, with other organisations such as TSM FTX, Team Liquid and Cloud9. FaZe also became the first esports and gaming company to be listed on the NASDAQ.
The Metaverse’s Role in Esports
All these measures are a direct consequence of how much esports has grown and has the potential to grow in the immediate future. Expect even more professional esports athletes, especially with more money being injected into the scene.
It gives players headway into pursuing esports and a viable career option, which could translate to higher levels of competition. Improved technology and streaming platforms that are pushing the boundaries in trying to integrate cutting-edge technology, like virtual reality technology, will provide an immersive experience for fans and players alike.
Going forward, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones promise to usher in a new era for esports and esports consumption, especially because console gaming is mostly still a niche market. The absolute majority of consumers using a mobile device run either Android or iOS. At the moment, it definitely seems as if mobile-oriented esports companies and developers have a longer growth runway than those appealing exclusively to hardcore gamers who play on consoles.
As such, the esports industry as a whole represents less than 1% of the total gaming market. The potential for esports to gain significant market share in the years ahead is massive. Initiatives such as space in the metaverse will only further accelerate this growth into a transformative future.