7. The Metaverse – a new virtual world￼
The Metaverse is a virtual ‘parallel’ universe. It contains everything we meet daily, and people are represented in it by special avatars. This new term, which is appearing on the front pages of newspapers, is the future of the Internet, and the business potential is enormous.
The genesis of the virtual world… fantasy
The genesis of the virtual world can be traced back to science fiction books. It was first introduced by Neal Stephenson in 1992. He described everything in his novel ”Blizzard (Snow Crash)”. The protagonists of the novel are avatars – digital twins – of real existing characters. Dare I say it, this is a world in which people lead their second, alternative lives.
The three-dimensional world is mainly based on augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) technology. The Metaverse is full of pop stars, musicians, businessmen, or ordinary people. The avatars that represent humans in this world can be freely modified. They can look any way you want – it’s your creation. Doesn’t that sound great? ☺
Metaverse – a perspective from global companies
Today, 3D worlds are generating huge amounts of money. Metaverse platforms are making a boom that is often compared to the dot-coms of 20 years ago. One example is Facebook, which has been turned into META. Zuckerberg has a vision to create his own Metaverse on his platform, which he speaks about loud and clear. To join it, you will need to purchase a special headset. It will be accessible and intuitive for the user, so even a layman will manage to use it. Profits will come from advertising and commerce. In his world, users will be the owners of the space in which they will stay and own items. We will certainly have to wait a few more years for Zuckerberg’s final vision of the world, but we can already see that he is setting the direction of the digital world.
The Facebook CEO is not the only one following the trend. The metaverse is bringing a new dimension to the Internet. Global brands and companies are already looking for their role in it. Based on the Metaverse, a new genre of marketing has emerged: D2A. Gucci sells its virtual bag on Roblox more expensive than the real one. Nike’s virtual Jordan’s can be found in Fortnite. The Coca-Cola line can be found in Decentraland.
Famous video games are also precursors of this new trend. These include Minecraft, Roblox, Fortnite, and Animal Crossing. The community is over 2 billion people! During the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in them increased even more. So, meetings, activities, weddings, or businesses have moved to the digital world.
Meta (Facebook), Microsoft, Nvidia, Apple, present us with a new vision of the Internet of the future. Ultimately, they want to create a virtual equivalent of every place in the world. Even production facilities. In this context, it is worth mentioning Bentley Motors Limited. The company thanks to VR and in cooperation with Nvidia created a very accurate representation of its factory. Thanks to artificial intelligence, production machines learn and perform simple simulations.
It is impossible not to mention Apple, which has a wholly different approach. It focuses on augmented reality (AR). The company is developing holograms that would appear in real space. It aims to revolutionize social media and business meetings. As you can see – every company has a different perspective on the Metaverse. But they all have the same goal – augmented or virtual reality, which allows us to do many everyday things without having to leave our homes.
D2A – new marketing
In English, direct to avatars. It is a new type of marketing that has emerged with the rise in popularity of the Metaverse. This new stream of marketing is closely linked to blockchain technology and NFT. The trends that prevail are currently very difficult to ignore. A revolution on many levels awaits us.
Metaverse & blockchain
For the entire virtual world ecosystem to work smoothly, blockchain technology will be necessary. The development of blockchain will parallel the popularization of augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Our existing world will become much more convenient. A distributed ledger can be introduced in many market sectors. It would enhance security and privacy in the Metaverse. Additionally – the transactions would be low cost, they would be fast and transparent. Blockchain also reduces or completely removes fees for intermediaries. For example – when buying a holiday in the Metaverse, using blockchain, we would be assured that our money would go directly to the hotel owner. Quickly and safely. And we would enjoy our holiday without stress. These are not all the possibilities of using blockchain in the new world. Examples could be multiplied.
VR – new reality technology
We now know that with new technology, we can do much more than we thought. We have moved teaching online, and many industries have allowed themselves to relocate meetings and work online. Furthermore, we rely on simple audio/video delivery. However, it is the Metaverse that will take this experience to the next level. Commerce and marketing will be the next areas of the economy to be significantly changed by virtual reality. It will also enhance online sales. E.g. H&M has opened its first shop in the Metaverse, precisely in CEEK City. Clothes bought there can only be worn in virtual reality. What’s more interesting – you can also find their equivalent in stationery shops. Nike and Adidas also have such plans. Thanks to two parallel realities, there will also be new spaces for advertising.
Is this a temporary FOMO?
Critics see the Metaverse boom as a new fad. They encapsulate it in the bubble of NFT or the utopian landscape of Zuckerberg’s world. They don’t see it as a change that is already happening and will bring much good. Especially among the representatives of the alpha generation. This can be seen directly in games. For the alpha generation, games and the world that surrounds them are their entire social life. Why scroll through Facebook or check Instagram when you can be hiking in the mountains at the same time…?
Big corporations and technology companies are also betting on this future. Sony has already invested $200 million in Epic Games creator Fortnite. Bonson Protocol paid as much as $700,000 for a virtual plot of land in Decentraland. He wants to build his shopping centre on it. A fad? The critics don’t seem to have analysed the data carefully.
87% of generation Z and 83% of the millennial generation play video games. At the same time, they use the digital space on their smartphones, consoles, or computers. More than 65% of post – millennials spend money in games, buying skins for example. The number of digital wallets set up in Metaverse ecosystems has increased tenfold since 2021. The market capitalization alone is estimated at $30 billion. Well, the numbers speak for themselves.