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Coca-Cola's new pixel-flavored soda is a product of the metaverse

Coca-Cola's gaming-inspired Zero Sugar Byte
Coca-Cola's gaming-inspired Zero Sugar Byte (Image credit: Coca-Cola)

What you need to know

  • Coca-Cola has launched a new virtual fizzy pop in the metaverse.
  • The Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte is a gaming-inspired soda found on an island in Fortnite.
  • It is set to hit physical shelves in the U.S. on May 2 in super limited quantities.

Coca-Cola has created yet another bizarre flavor (opens in new tab) for its eponymous beverage, and it resides in the metaverse, at least for the time being. The Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte is a gaming-themed version of the popular fizzy drink that brings "the flavor of pixels to life."

It's hard to imagine what the beverage giant's latest creation will taste like until it becomes available for purchase in May. But Coca-Cola says the pixel-flavored soda's taste "is reminiscent of powering up a game, and its refreshing finish makes for a perfect gaming companion."

"For our second expression from Coca-Cola Creations, we wanted to create an innovative taste inspired by the playfulness of pixels, rooted in the experiences that gaming makes possible, said Oana Vlad, Coca-Cola's senior director of global strategy.

Early reactions to the beverage were mixed. CNET's Katie Teague (opens in new tab) liked it because "the fizziness was so strong that it reminded me of when I would eat Pop Rocks as a kid." However, The Verge's Mitchell Clark (opens in new tab) didn't, calling it "off-putting" and "sickly sweet."

The Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte is the second limited-edition release from the Coca-Cola Creations team following the debut of the space-inspired Starlight in February. Coca-Cola Starlight allowed fans to attend an augmented reality concert by Ava Max.

Similarly, the Zero Sugar Byte introduces virtual experiences of its own in the form of an island called Pixel Point. It is created in Fortnite Creative (opens in new tab), though Coca-Cola makes it clear that it's not sponsored or endorsed by Epic Games.

The company collaborated with gaming organization PWR to design the Pixel Point, where players must hunt for the drink and play four multiplayer mini-games: The Castle, The Escape, The Race, and The Tower.

Scanning a Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte package will also take you to an augmented reality (AR) game that tells the story of Byte. The character is described as "an 8-bit pixel left behind when Coca-Cola Byte entered the metaverse." Players must help Byte return to its place in the Coca-Cola logo by jumping up a spiral staircase.

The new Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte may have been born in the metaverse, but you won't need one of the best VR headsets to find one. Coca-Cola says you can buy the Zero Sugar Byte in twin packs of 12.5-oz. cans starting May 2 in the United States. It'll be up for grabs exclusively via Coca-Cola’s own website, but you'll have to act fast since it'll be available in “super limited quantity." The product launched in Latin America earlier this week in extremely limited quantities as well.

Coca-Cola didn't reveal the retail price in its announcement, but CNN reported (opens in new tab) that it'll cost around $15 plus shipping.

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he's not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.