Balenciaga Launches Collaboration With Chinese Racing Video Game ‘Need for Speed Mobile’

After linking up with Alipay, Balenciaga is continuing to forge ties with Chinese tech giants via its latest collaboration with the Tencent-owned racing video game “Need for Speed Mobile.”

The collaboration, which was 500-plus days in the making, includes in-game merchandise for characters and racing cars, as well as physical merchandise that will be made available in selected Balenciaga stores, on and its WeChat Mini Program.

Balenciaga's iconic

An in-game Maserati with custom Balenciaga caution tape livery.

The first “Need for Speed” was released in 1994 by Electronic Arts and quickly became an iconic 1990s racing game. “Need for Speed Mobile,” also known as “Need for Speed: Assembly,” was launched on Thursday in mainland China. The licensed mobile game was developed by Tencent Games’ TiMi Studios. Tencent Games is a subsidiary of Tencent, the Shenzhen-based technology conglomerate. According to Balenciaga, the mobile game will launch in the rest of the Greater China region in August, accompanied by the capsule drop.

Inside the game, users will discover six character looks and four car liveries designed by Balenciaga’s creative director Demna, based on classic silhouettes from recent collections. The Balenciaga skins can be purchased at the in-game boutique, with certain items to be unlocked after completing in-game tasks.

A character in the game wearing a Balenciaga x Need for Speed Mobile t-shirt.

A character in the game wearing a T-shirt from the capsule collection.

For its physical counterpart, Demna devised an eight-piece capsule collection with hoodies, T-shirts and sweatpants that come with NFC chips that grant shoppers early access to a special skin within the virtual racing world.

Inside a Balenciaga-themed cityscape called “Heat Valley,” players will also be able to virtually browse the brand’s London flagship and take a preview tour of its forthcoming Shanghai Taikoo Hui flagship. The Shanghai flagship is slated to open very soon, according to Balenciaga.

The “Need for Speed Mobile” tie-in serves as a localized experiment to further connect with China’s digitally savvy shoppers in a seamless fashion.

For Balenciaga chief executive officer Cédric Charbit, the partnership is also a way to creatively interact with industry leaders “who share the same innovative values.”

“Our collaboration is strategic and 360 degrees, from in-game content to physical products,” Charbit continued. “Together with Tencent, we can explore new territories and dialogues, pushing boundaries and redefining luxury through creativity.”

The venture marks the third time Balenciaga has ventured into the digital gaming world.

In 2020, the brand unveiled its fall 2021 collection in the form of the “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow” video game. As a sequel to “Afterworld,” Balenciaga teamed up with Epic Games’ “Fortnite” on a capsule collection in 2021.

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