You’ve heard the term, but you’re not quite sure what it means. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve put together this short article to give you the basics and the opportunity to learn more.
So, What is the Metaverse Anyway?
The term “metaverse” was coined by author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel, Snow Crash. Stephenson’s fictional metaverse resembles what we now would call a massively multiplayer online game (MMO), complete with virtual reality headsets, avatar representation, and a virtual currency.
Today, the meaning of metaverse depends on who you ask. It includes and ranges from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, non-fungible tokens, gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality, and even the world as presented in the movie The Matrix. What all these things share, and what becomes the basis of the metaverse, is the concept of immersing yourself from the real world into the digital world, in which you interact and share experiences with others in real time.
What’s the potential of the metaverse? For many, it’s the next evolutionary step for today’s internet. And like the early days of the internet, the current metaverse is going from early adapters to the early majority/mainstream. So, if more and more people are going to be spending more and more time immersed in metaverse experiences, then savvy businesses will look for ways to make money there.
“Where” is the Metaverse?
Today, there are a number of companies that provide a metaverse experience. Some of the current top provider platforms include:
- Decentraland: “Create, explore and trade in the first-ever virtual world owned by its users… Buy and sell LAND, Estates, Avatar wearables and names in the Decentraland Marketplace: stocking the very best digital goods and paraphernalia backed by the ethereum blockchain.”
- Horizon Worlds: “… is a free app that can be experienced on your Meta Quest headset. It is an ever-expanding social universe where you can hang with friends, meet new people, play games, attend cool events and there are over 10,000 worlds and experiences to explore. There’s always something new to discover when you’re in Meta Horizon Worlds.”
- The Sandbox: “… a decentralized, community-driven gaming ecosystem where creators can share and monetize voxel assets and gaming experiences on the Ethereum blockchain. Using The Sandbox’s free software, such as VoxEdit and the Game Maker, players, artists and game designers can create ASSETs and experiences, such as games, dioramas and art galleries, for themselves and to share with others. These can be monetized to earn the creator passive income.”
- Roblox: “…builds the tools and platforms that empower people to create their own immersive experiences, so that any world they can imagine can be brought to life. Our vision is to reimagine the way people come together to create, play, explore, learn, and connect with one another.”
- Axie Infinity: “Axies are fierce creatures that love to battle, build, and hunt for treasure! Players can build up a collection of Axies and use them across an ever-expanding universe of games! Axie Infinity uses cutting edge technology called Blockchain to reward players for their engagement.”
Monetizing the Metaverse
What are some ways companies are looking to have a monetized presence in the metaverse? Let’s take the example of a Prolifics’ client that is taking its first steps into the metaverse – a large global retail clothing company. Their goal is simple – increase revenue through additional sales. They want to do this through increased brand awareness and engagement, with a clear branding strategy and tactics aimed at the GenZ audience; this includes evaluating virtual events (concerts, shows, specific gaming) to sponsor or host, and partnering with other digital fashion brands.
Another Prolifics client, a large American healthcare company, is looking to expand its pharmacy reach and increase revenue with digital, self-service kiosks. Patients can determine their out-of-pocket costs, make payments, and enquire about eligibility and claims.
In the alistdaily.com article These Brands Are Betting Big on The Metaverse, dated February 22, 2022, writer Nina Aghadjanian notes the following:
Benetton – In the Italian fashion brand’s metaverse retail store, digital shoppers won’t buy clothes but instead participate in gaming experiences with the opportunity to accumulate QR codes, which can then be used to make purchases in Benetton’s physical stores.
Gucci debuted the Gucci Garden, a two-week art installation aimed at raising brand awareness among young customers, inside Roblox. Upon entering the garden, visitors could view, try on and buy digital Gucci products to dress their blank, genderless avatars before exploring the garden’s themed rooms.
JPMorgan Chase and Decentraland – The largest bank in the US and seventh-largest in the world has recently made moves to modernize its brand by designing and launching a lounge in the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland called The Onyx. (JPMorgan Chase) said the risk of “being left behind is worth the incremental investment needed to get started” in the race to occupy a space in the metaverse.
You Want to be a Part of the Metaverse. How Do You Start?
There are at least three sets of technologies that are critical to becoming part of the metaverse:
- Data and analytics. Essentially, data science. Even in the real world, we know that organizations that come up with a “360-degree view” of their clients – their needs and their wants, what they’re buying and what their affordability is – do a better job of selling to those clients. That information is critical in the metaverse also – it in fact takes it a step forward. The metaverse creates a new set of experiences in which you can gain data from your clients on how they interact with your brand. It’s an extension – the metaverse is a new reason for why data is critical, and it’s also a new source of that data as well.
- Blockchain. While not all metaverse experiences are going to require blockchain, it is becoming, or is widely seen, as a foundational technology for the future metaverse. And the reason for that is we think the metaverse is going to be more and more decentralized, so it’s not necessarily going to be one experience, no more than the internet is one website. Blockchain is a very good way of having a decentralized method of tracking what’s happening in an order trail of experiences, but also of tracking things like NFTs, property and cryptocurrency. So regardless of where the metaverse experience occurs, there’s one transactional ledger for it. Blockchain provides the backbone for all those experiences.
- Metaverse technology itself. This would include the 3D modeling platforms, and the tech of virtual reality, augmented reality, the headsets, and user experience. It could also include the Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, where data is coming in from various devices around the user.
While there are “only” three sets of technology described above, it is strongly advised to collaborate or partner with one or more other organizations that have expertise in one piece or another. This spreads the risk, gives flexibility, and shortens the “to-market” curve, as opposed to one company trying to do it all.
Although the metaverse is in its infancy, its potential is undeniable. Radio, television, and the internet all came before with their world-changing effects. The metaverse is next in that line of technological advancements that savvy business organizations will adopt for their own specific goals.
Join Prolifics’ CTO Greg Hodgkinson and Crewasis Founder and metaverse expert Sharon Joseph, for a special edition of Prolifics’ “Innovation Sandbox” live stream on Prolifics TV.
Greg and Sharon will guide you through the metaverse to experience property, events, branding and healthcare, highlighting the advantages these could have on your organization. Sharon will also discuss how her clients are currently using the metaverse to excel in their business objectives.
For more info and to register, visit: Innovation Sandbox – A Walking Tour of the Metaverse.