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Brief Published: 15 Dec 2020

ComplexLand: ComplexCon Goes Virtual with Shops & Drops


US hip-hop, streetwear and pop-culture magazine Complex translated its annual ComplexCon event into a five-day virtual festival (December 7-11), replete with avatars, branded in-game shops and ‘IRL’ street-food delivery. Evolving the pandemic-era virtual launches covered in Virtual Launch Activations, ComplexLand’s aping of a video-game environment has brand opportunities aplenty.

Designed by Canadian agency Jam3, ComplexLand was built in WebGL – a JavaScript API which allows any user to access the game via their desktop or mobile browser without any additional downloads or plug-ins, or the need for wearables such as virtual reality (VR) headsets.

Here’s how it worked:

Personalised Avatars: ComplexLand comprised five ‘neighbourhoods’ within its video-game-like universe. Users, who signed in via a one-click registration through Google or Facebook, were represented by avatars which they dressed by talking with a staff member (also in avatar form) at the ComplexLand entrance, or via a dropdown menu. They could select clothing from brands including Gucci, as well as hairstyles presented by US haircare brand Head & Shoulders. They then traversed the neighbourhoods on foot, or via a gamer-style map that was continually present at the bottom right-hand side of the screen.

Streetwear Stores: Around 50 e-commerce stores were scattered throughout, from brands including Versace, Adidas and Las Vegas streetwear label Feature.

Food Trucks: Users in New York and LA were also able to order from local restaurants via food trucks; clicking on an option from the menu redirected them to the eatery’s preferred food delivery platform.

Each neighbourhood contained a different aspect of the festival. 

Campgrounds (Drops & Homage Spaces): The Campgrounds formed the central area, and were home to shoppable streetwear ‘drops’ and giveaways. They also housed most of ComplexLand’s ‘monuments’, which paid homage to significant individuals and moments previously covered by the title (such as Jay-Z becoming rap’s first billionaire).

Astral Market (Performances): Astral Market hosted discussions (topics included sneaker shopping and cannabis legalisation) and performances from American rappers Jack Harlow and Blxst, among others.

Sunset Lagoon (Music Discovery): At the Sunset Lagoon, users could find out more about the music played on ComplexLand Radio, especially created for the festival. In-game radio was pioneered by video-game series Grand Theft Auto, and is also present in the newly released and much-hyped Cyberpunk 2077. 

The Boro (Artist Showcases): The Boro offered sculptures, books and prints from artists including London-based illustrator Steph Morris, Italian creative Fidia and British rapper Kano – all of whom could sell their work in-game.

Hi-Bye (Streetwear Marketplace): Hi-Bye was a digital marketplace dedicated to exclusive product from Complex-curated up-and-coming brands including American designer (and former stylist of Kanye West) Darryl Brown, and New York’s Saint Ivory. Visitors were able to buy in-game, adding product from multiple brands to a basket as they browsed ComplexLand’s stores.

For more on how to monetise virtual worlds, see The Metaverse Opportunity. Also see our upcoming report, Virtual Flagships, publishing on 14 January.