Today’s post is a reflection on where we are going into with “The Metaverse”. What a big and incredibly hyped term, yeah?
Wad Dis Metaverse
“The Metaverse” is an interactive, immersive and social space that allows people different and meaningful experiences. There is a wide-ranging list of use cases and billions of dollars have been invested by top tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, VISA, and others in the Metaverse.
Metaverse has got presumably limitless possibilities backed by the expansive scope of the industry. Being able to be virtually present at any instance is something that everybody already experienced but experiencing real physical presence in that virtual world is the core concept behind the Metaverse.
With Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, Meta’s (Facebook) focus on Oculus, NVIDIA’s Omniverse, Roblox Online Game, and other developments in the industry, it is quite evident that consumerism will reach the edge within the Metaverse space. This will have significant impacts on businesses and societies, globally.
Let us now take a brief view of this huge debate by understanding a few and most highlighted aspects in this regard:
Technologies Needed + Money Flow
The developments within the virtual reality space aren’t new but the unique ways through which now mankind is interacting with them are changing such as the Metaverse. This is the result of rapidly evolving technologies that are allowing mankind to go beyond their imaginations.
Of course, there are always two types of metaverses: Open, and closed. Usually, we file metaverses associated with Web3.0 under “open metaverses”. According to an article on Binance – one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges with $76 billion of 24 hours trading volume, there are 5 basic technologies needed for the open metaverse.
- Blockchain and cryptocurrency;
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR);
- Artificial intelligence (AI);
- 3D reconstruction; and
- The Internet of things (IoT).
These technologies further disintegrate into other areas key areas such as digital art, NFTs, Cloud Services, etc. And of course, virtual beings and humans are nothing new- only the “metaverse” narrative of all things virtual is.
What a convenient convergence TBH. Facebook/ Meta spent more than USD10 billion in 2021 on their version of the metaverse alone, forecast that this spending will only increase in the next five years, and preempted investors that their vision could take up to 15years to reach. Follow the money and you’ll pretty much get the truth.
Business Leaders & Brand Identities
Bloomberg Intelligence Industry Analysts Matthew Kanterman and Nathan Naidu have concluded that Metaverse could reach a worth of $800 billion by 2024.
At the same time, a recently published paper by Grayscale Research, Metaverse could reach a worth of $1 trillion soon. This and many other key market data sources have revealed that the Metaverse is still evolving and it has got huge potential.
In addition, let’s also consider the possibility that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is not just a JPEG file on blockchain. Instead, we could also see it as a brand representation on Web3.0. Against this context, business owners and leaders probably have to learn what NFTs are eventually, if they want participation into the metaverse.
Keeping these facts in mind businesses should think twice about stepping into the Metaverse. This will bring countless benefits and opportunities for them to yield more returns for their brands. It is an era when top celebrities like Snoop Dogg and others are making massive purchases in the Metaverse which reflects the colossal business potential within the industry.
Unique Ways to Optimize Brands for The Metaverse
From virtual events and shops to gaming and socializing, a lot is going on that has resulted in a huge need for businesses to dive into this new world. Rob Pierre on Entrepreneur reveals three major elements that every brand should consider to succeed in the Metaverse. According to his post, these include technology adoption, customer outreach, and asset development.
Tech futurist Cathy Hackl on Forbes also suggests similar elements to consider. These include an increased focus on social networking, visual search (augmented reality), and database research. In addition to that, Ben Thompson who has worked at renowned tech giants like Apple and Microsoft concludes that brands should also focus on geopolitical factors.
The most recent example of this is that Apple, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Google, Meta (Facebook), Epic Games, and many others have suspended their operations in Russia which has been resulted due to the country’s recent invasion of Ukraine. So, businesses should also consider such unexpected setbacks while devising their Metaverse brand optimization strategies.
Elevating Virtual Experiences & Integrating Business Ops in the Metaverse
Leveraging efficient use of the current technologies and newer innovations can add value and elevate virtual experiences for the end-users. There are several unique ways through which businesses could incorporate key operations in the Metaverse. One of the coolest examples in this regard is Horizon Workrooms by Oculus.
In addition to that, Hybrid work is not at all a new concept. Industry leaders like Michael Pryor who is Trello’s co-founder and a metaverse enthusiast say the Metaverse could become the biggest game-changer in the corporate world. So, conducting meetings, training, and other work collaborations in a Metaverse is exactly the future of today’s businesses.
Moderating Content in the Metaverse
OK, fair enough. How about metaverses for non-corporates then? The gaming worlds aren’t known for being very aspirational- the opposite, in fact. Most games primarily operate on the lizard brains, tribalism and basic instincts.
In the world of Metaverse, content moderation has become the biggest dilemma. The majority of key stakeholders and big investors like Meta and others are striving at their best to devise a universal set of protocols for moderating content in the Metaverse. Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth says on The Verge, content moderation in Metaverse is potentially impossible.
From child safety and sexual harassment to misinformation and criminal activities, there is a lot that needs to be regulated. He considered these elements as “existential threats”. Bosworth also shared that he could make efforts to introduce a newer and stricter version of community rules for its Horizon Worlds VR Platform but these virtual worlds will continue to have a strong bias when it comes to enforcement. It is also noteworthy that Meta has invested $50 million in research of bad metaverse content.
Can we moderate content via a decentralised autonomous organization (DAO) and have the community self-regulate, though? It’s an interesting area and food for thought, isn’t it?
Accountability of Content in The Metaverse
Metaverse is a boundless and endless marketplace backed by technologies that run on a completely decentralized and autonomous system of blockchain. That being said, it is quite evident that not a single entity or group of people could be held accountable for the content in the Metaverse.
A recent report published by JP Morgan emphasizes the emerging need for community governance, local jurisdictional requirements, and strong regulation between web 2.0 to web 3.0 digital assets. Yes, it is possible that the platform owners could brainstorm and attempt to make their users comply with a specific set of rules but on a bigger scale, it is way complex to control the entire segment.
The concern for privacy and confidentiality is also growing rapidly. According to Meta whistleblower Frances Haugen the advent of Metaverse and its new developments, user privacy is at huge risk. Not a pretty sight, especially when even a plethora of information can be obtained from your iris, via your VR headset.
How Retail Folks Can Leverage On The Metaverse
From those who think it is still too early to those who seek a huge potential within the Metaverse, there are limitless possibilities for everyone to invest and yield unimaginable returns. There are many ways through which one could step into this whole new world.
According to Investopedia and many other credible sources, the easiest and most cost-effective approach to investing in the Metaverse is through an exchange-traded fund (ETF). These funds are similar to mutual funds that are pooled investment securities. Other than that, those with expansive budgets can aim to buy virtual land in top Metaverses like Decentraland and digital assets like NFTs.
The Bottom Line
Follow the money and you will get the truth. The metaverse is constantly changing its dynamics and adapting to newer and improved developments within the area. Therefore, it is a complex situation for businesses to keep up with the pace.
All in all, it is important for any businesses and brands to be sure of their mission, vision and brand DNA before stepping into the metaverse. Afterall, it is another world to manage your brand identity in! Beyond any possible hype, having clarity of these will ensure longevity into the Web3.0 future.
The bottom line? As more and more NFTs look for utility to prevent the massive crash to their price floors, they will inevitably find it on metaverses. If that’s the case, what do you think the new and trending narrative will switch to in the next 5 years?