The metaverse is the ultimate realization of the abstract realm, not via smartphones and powerful computers, but within immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). When these technologies effectively merge, the real value of a metaverse entity will be difficult to comprehend in its entirety.
The virtual metaverse will become popular for a simple reason; it is available and affordable – and much more controllable than real existence is. Virtual offices, personal interactions, and obtaining goods and services will have minimal costs and will be within reach upon a few mouse clicks.
And there will no longer be a need for long commutes to work. With a large field of imaginative possibilities to explore, the initial value of the metaverse will be the instant connection and integration to everything that is already created virtually – such as online banking, digital social media, electronic gaming, and multi-modes of attainable entertainment.
The ability to transform, translate and synthesize normal daily tasks into these new online realities will alter the nature of virtuality and physical reality. What we currently do on the Internet can be encountered within a metaverse, as opposed to tapping and manipulating icons and colorful symbols on our smartphones.
This virtual vision has enormous personal and economic potential as developed countries (and some emerging ones) embrace technology and telecommunications.
You can expect the leading global tech companies to have already staked a claim within the technical ground regarding AR and VR, and that has been the case. Microsoft has released its own next-gen VR/ AR headset called the HoloLens 2; however, it is primarily used for virtual business applications and not entertainment.
Not to be outdone, Apple has been far more tight-lipped about its metaverse plans, but reliable reports suggest that 2022 will be the year that it will launch its first device.
What is the metaverse?
The term – metaverse – first appeared in a science fiction book in the early 90s. The plot focused on people who chose to interact with each other in a 3-dimensional world using avatars.
The closest metaverse entity currently is the online game Fortnite. This shared gaming platform is immensely popular, where online player interaction and sharing experiences occur in the virtual space. Tech company, Unity Software, has staked its claim with 3D software gaming products; however, recently (March 2021), they announced a landmark deal with car manufacturer, Volkswagen, to design and market their vehicles in 3D and within real-time virtual workspaces.
Interestingly, the term ‘meta’ also means ‘beyond,’ therefore the metaverse implies an augmentation of the physical and virtual presence we currently live in.
What will occur within the Metaverse?
Once an initial (non-gaming) metaverse has been developed and deployed, what’s next?
Early metaverse prototypes have overseen AR innovation for online users to virtually try and buy goods and services, such as clothes, furniture, perform DIY jobs in your home, and even sample different makeup options.
Interestingly, the metaverse will be more than just an online fashion and lifestyle bonanza, with all forms of retail marketing and purchasing expected to exist in the metaverse, and with virtual items containing crypto value and operation within virtual economies. Avatars will wear digital clothing, and virtual enterprises will exist in a similar form as their real-world equivalent entities do.
Additionally, Social media will also have a presence within the metaverse. With Facebook already acquiring VR company Oculus, it plans to release the latest generation Oculus Quest 2 headset, introducing users to the whole new VR experience right out of the box. Using Facebook’s services, Oculus just might be the fast-pass to connect its owners to any new metaverse available.
Moreover, entertainment within the Metaverse will not just be about gaming; it will spread to reach other platforms as well. Virtual cinemas showing movies in a metaverse world with enhanced digital-only effects are more than a possibility. Music concerts and festivals, sports, and sporting competitions are likely to all have a digital presence as well. Metaverse travel can safely occur without any pandemic-enforced restrictions.
What does the Metaverse hold for Marketing and Marketers?
There can be no guarantee that people will respond to marketing within the metaverse as they do so in the real world. While the metaverse can devise and deliver entirely new economic digital concepts, it will require a new marketing and advertising approach to connect with potential consumers.
Digital marketing visionaries such as Simulmedia, are already exploring and studying these new theories to adapt to the metaverse, advocating that advertising the right virtual scale needs to complement some of the existing ways.
Tech Companies and the Metaverse
Leading IT commentators believe there will be a need for multiple technologies and from a multitude of tech companies required to create and sustain the metaverse. One such company – Roblox – which recently commenced trading publicly (and raised USD 40 billion), has made no secret of their desire to create a virtual scaffolding or framework for a metaverse, so their users can create and virtually engage within as they see fit.
The metaverse will require a new programming model as an extensive and live emerging platform, where you can seamlessly go from one world to another. However, that requires an open-world programming model that currently does not exist.
How the Metaverse Could Evolve
The metaverse will not simply be about the potential commercial opportunities possible. As we develop toward existing in both the real world and digital VR, the metaverse will offer a fundamental advantage: convenience with accessibility.
The possibilities of how the metaverse will operate might just depend upon wireless capability, especially 5G technology. The metaverse will need adequate bandwidth, the capacity to move large amounts of data and faster throughout a network while optimizing any futuristic applications and seamlessly deploying them, like add-ons to a complex piece of software. The metaverse transformation will become global, and it will impact all of us.
What will be the ultimate feature that will appeal to almost everyone who engages within the metaverse? It might simply be virtually getting together with family and friends to have social experiences that can be recorded and be made readily accessible, rather than personally relying on one’s memories.
Whatever the wonderful options that a metaverse can provide, it is not a matter of ‘if’ tech companies plan to invest and explore this realm, simply ‘when.’