On Friday, Nissan announced the Sakura, a small but cute little electric vehicle (EV) that is set to be Nissan’s most affordable EV to date. The car was designed for the Japanese market, where Kei-cars are extremely popular. The car will cost 2,333,100 yen, or roughly R290,000.
The Sakura was a topic of discussion over the Internet this weekend due to how Nissan opted to unveil its new car. There was the physical unveiling, which went off without a hitch. But then there was a second unveiling for the same car, but in the metaverse. Yes, the metaverse.
Here is the original video for the unveiling. Nissan isn’t letting anyone embed it, for some reason. But be warned, it’s even stranger than you’re expecting. Unless you’re expecting dancing anime girls to unveil a new Nissan however. In that case, this is exactly what you’re looking for.
Being too Meta
The video begins in a virtual Nissan showroom, standing alone in the middle of a white, unfinished city. It feels like a really weird product placement for a scene in The Matrix. Sadly, Keanu Reeves didn’t pop out and do kung fu. The collection of zany avatars does little to make up for the lack of Neo.
The car itself seems pretty standard for an EV, with four seats and a 20kW lithium-ion battery with enough juice to go 180km. It’s also the first ‘mini-vehicle’ to feature an advanced driver-assist system. All in all, not a bad car – especially for those that got to actually see the thing, and not just the metaverse version.
Following an awkwardly long dance by an anime girl, (we’re not joking, it’s four minutes long) virtual customers are finally shown the new Nissan Sakura in all its laggy splendor. And, credit where it’s due, the car actually looks quite like its real-life counterpart. Well, as much as a car can look real in the metaverse.
After the presentation, customers were given a chance to “test-drive” the new car. The only problem? It’s not real. Still, customers took the Sakura for a spin, and it looked… fairly fun. Test drives took place on a road that looks like a map from the original Mario Kart, but with unfinished textures. It’s nowhere close to actually driving the thing, but at least attendees can say they took it for a drive.
It’s possible Nissan’s event was purely promotional, designed for fun and to get the word out. Nissan probably isn’t expecting anyone to make a purchase based on its ‘metaverse’ launch alone. The problem is, other companies might possibly make this the norm for future unveilings. And not just cars, but everything. Games, phones, software, tablets, meme-coins — expect all of it to feature virtual launches at some point.
It’s easy to hope that this was a one-time thing, but that’s probably not the case. It’s not like Meta, for one, will give up that easily.