Who knew being fashion-forward also meant keeping up with mobile trends?
In celebration of its founder’s 200th birthday, luxury brand Louis Vuitton released the mobile game Louis the Game on Android and Apple stores in early August this year. It maps the beginnings of Vuitton’s journey toward the brand’s creation with the mascot Vivienne as the player’s character.
It features a whimsical world with six real-life locations traversing different countries, including Japan (Tokyo), France (Paris), and the US (New York).
Throughout the game, players must collect 200 candles, as well as 30 non-fungible tokens or NFTs. According to the game’s description on the app store, each candle “unlocks fascinating stories about the journey of Louis, his family, and the Maison” or the fashion house. But what of the NFTs?
What’s an NFT & Why Is It in a Luxury Brand’s Mobile Game?
A non-fungible token is any digital item that, by definition, is irreplaceable. An article in The Verge aptly illustrates what this means.
For example, a bitcoin is fungible — trade one for another bitcoin, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. A one-of-a-kind trading card, however, is non-fungible. If you traded it for a different card, you’d have something completely different.The Verge
It’s similar to trading ancient money or rare, sealed video games — except the item is digital. Trading one for another won’t give a one-to-one correspondence in value.
An NFT can be a digital painting, a video game asset, or even a tweet. In fact, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey did just that recently in March. He auctioned off his first-ever tweet (“just setting up my twttr”), and Bridge Oracle CEO Sina Estavi actually bought it for $2.9 million, according to Reuters and other news outlets.
To be clear, though, what Estavi bought is a certificate with Dorsey’s digital signature and the tweet’s data, the BBC reports. Essentially, any digital item can technically become an NFT.
Can the NFTs in the Mobile Game Louis the Game Be as Valuable as the Multi-Million Dollar Tweet?
In the world of Louis the Game, the 30 NFTs are free collectibles usable within the game. Some of these NFTs were even designed by the artist Beeple, who had sold an NFT artwork worth $69 million. However, that’s really all there is to it.
The NFTs in Louis the Game can’t be traded as they’re locked in the game, Pocketgamer.biz reports. They’re aesthetic digital pieces meant to be appreciated in the virtual world of the game.
Louis Vuitton, however, is not the only luxury brand getting into the NFT and cryptocurrency scene. Burberry recently showcased an NFT as well in the form of a character named “Sharky B” for the game Blankos Block Party. The character is clad in Burberry’s new monogram. Gucci also auctioned its first NFT, which was a film inspired by one of its collections.
Merging fashion with NFTs has become increasingly common. And luxury brands are not the only ones benefiting from the trend. Reuters reports another notable fashion-based NFT story that recently emerged. Designer Hiroto Kai sold virtual pieces between $15,000-$20,000 for Decentraland, a 3D open-world metaverse.
But unlike Kai, profiting off NFTs isn’t exactly the motivation for these big-time companies to create and release beautiful digital assets. As Reuters points out, to Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Gucci, generating NFT buzz is more of a marketing technique geared toward their new audience.
Why Louis Vuitton Developed a Mobile Game
Louis Vuitton’s move to release a mobile game was not the only way the company celebrated its founder’s 200th birthday, of course. In the works are a novel and a documentary covering the life and brand of Louis Vuitton. But that this luxury brand released a mobile game is interesting in itself.
According to several sources, this attempt into the world of mobile gaming meant to catch the attention of a new generation. Simply put, Louis Vuitton wanted to market to the young. But how does the mobile game fare as a marketing tactic?
Connecting with a new generation is par for the course with the company’s history. After all, it’s what brought the luxury brand to the level of recognition it has today, according to WWD. Strategically, Louis Vuitton was on the right track when it decided to build a mobile game, something its younger audience can appreciate. Execution-wise, the output is a tad lacking.
Louis the Game is riddled with technical issues. Some of the mobile game’s bugs include sound problems, random crashes, and lagging.
Several players have reported issues with the game being unable to produce any music, including PCMag.com’s senior features writer Chandra Steele. Others said there were problems with its frame rate. There were even reviews saying they had problems with actually starting the game.
Steele also said in her review that while the game was enjoyable at the start, she eventually gave up due to the number of problems with gameplay. In particular, interacting and getting candles “a few feet off the ground proved too difficult,” she says.
What Could Have Been Improved?
Going through the feedback of Louis the Game, we found issues common among the app store reviews. While users have praised the graphics and the idea behind the game, they were also unhappy with issues concerning the game’s controls, lag, and frame rate. Overall, the experience was a bit of a let-down.
The most glaring issue is optimization. The frame rate seems to vary across operating systems and devices. Some have reported issues with lag, and for others, the game seems to be running fine.
Reviewers on the Play Store have also experienced uncomfortable vibrations, something many players wanted to “turn off” but couldn’t. This game design issue could have also been tested before the release, just to gauge the target audience’s experience with this feature.
However, Louis Vuitton still did commendable work at a visual and conceptual level. And perhaps with the right development team, they could improve their charming mobile game further.
Louis Vuitton released a mobile game called Louis the Game to celebrate its founder’s 200th birthday. In the game are 200 candles players can collect, as well as 30 NFTs, which can be used exclusively in the game. Louis the Game is available on iOS and Android devices.
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