The Metaverse. Are you Ready Player One?
The metaverse can be defined as the combination of augmented reality, the internet and 3D worlds in which a visitor can explore as an avatar. It crosses both the real and virtual worlds. It has the potential to be a very big deal, maybe even change the future of the internet. In the marketing world it’s certainly something brands have begun to take note of because the possibilities are endless in a place where anything can be imagined.
Many people have already experienced virtual spaces especially during lockdown when we had to interact with people over video calls. Virtual beings are already in our homes in the form of Alexa and Siri, and more and more VR headsets are finding their way into our houses. In fact it is predicted that the virtual reality market will grow at a rate of 22% every year.
The Metaverse is already thriving in the games world and can be seen in action in the game Fortnite by Epic Games. This online game consists of cooperative or versus battles between players and allows characters to customised. Epic Games have recently announced a partnership with fashion house Balenciaga which will allow players to purchase virtual designer clothes and accessories for their characters. They will be able to buy these goods with cryptocurrencies in a virtual Balenciaga store which has an animated billboard above it that will also appear in cities in the real world as well as wearable merchandise. Potentially it will soon be possible for even small businesses to buy a virtual plot of land and have their business, restaurant or shop built on it and items bought from it that can be delivered in the virtual and real world. In fact the commercial buildings themselves could be visited, bought and sold here.
Players are prepared to spend a lot of money in these virtual worlds making the e-commerce possibilities vast. It is time to stop thinking of gamers as a niche audience. They are now mainstream with 2020 statistics revealing 9 out of 10 people in the UK play them. And if all this still sounds like something in the distant future many major companies are already beginning to create virtual communities and experiences. Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg revealed that he wishes to make Facebook a metaverse company Disney are developing a theme park metaverse and Gucci has a virtual garden in the game Roblox
You need to be ready player one!