With the sheer amount of Metaverse start-ups appearing, it struck me that many are missing the point; new tech gimmick prioritising actual purpose. Entering the Metaverse presents with so much opportunity, but doing so in this stage of the game, with the sole aim of ‘being in it, to win it’ is often at odds with the fundamentals of a decentralised system.
From licensed portals to pay-per-use platforms, simply building something and allowing people access via VR is not what the Metaverse is all about.
The beauty of the Metaverse lies in encouraging community and collaboration in a decentralised way. Building products and services with input from actual users in real-time as opposed to being steered by one company’s leadership team with an agenda. It’s authentic, it’s genuine and it becomes a product designed by the people who are actually using it.
Given Wikipedia’s description of the Metaverse, it’s no wonder people are confused: ‘In futurism and science fiction, the metaverse is a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal and immersive virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets.’
Contrary to the above, the Metaverse is accessible for everyone, browsers, phones AND headsets. Although VR provides as close to real-life experience as possible, by nature it also removes us from reality. In some applications, this is incredibly powerful, yet the concept of a headset based virtual world replacing our TVs and devices is unlikely with the hardware where it is in its current form. Much more exciting is the advancements we'll see in the development of mixed reality devices... think smart glasses that seamlessly integrate our digital lives with our every day. This for me, is the future power of the Metaverse - the ability to access any product or service, at any time, as easily as possible. Connecting people and communities around the world in a moment in time.
Will it be a single virtual world… I doubt it. That would defeat the purpose of a decentraslised internet. As much as Zuckerberg would love Meta to be the singular go-to, investment in this space is vast and we haven't yet seen the Unicorns of Web3 emerge. With well over $10 billion in venture funding going towards the concept, the market was worth $478.7 million in 2020, and experts expect it to grow to $800 billion in just four more years. Ensuring the Metaverse isn't monopolised by one entity, will be an important part of safeguarding equality and diversity.
“We are about to witness the biggest technical revolution of our lifetime unfold.”
Collectively, we have so much to learn and explore about the future of the Web3 and the many applications it is yet to hold. Brands entering the Metaverse are doing so with a bold and brave experimental mindset. Nike is a great example of being at the forefront of digital transformation when they entered the Metaverse with a purpose-built space using the Roblox platform. 7 million visitors have spent time in 'Nikeland' since it launched in November 2021. Customers are able to buy exclusive digital clothing to dress their avatar, not solely restricted to Nikeland, meaning that customers using Roblox become walking avatar brand ambassadors within the virtual space. The true power of bringing people together in one place is that you build a community of like-minded loyal customers, all eager to interact with a brand, and access exclusive products, celebrity guest appearances and various games built to engage customers in the space.
Other clothing brands such as Adidas, have sold NFT collections of digital products that allow customers (once in ownership of an NFT) exclusive access to buy physical limited edition merchandise. This increase the value of the NFTs, keeps customers engaged and in turn, builds a community of die-hard followers. Giving NFT owners access to a closed community, is another simple way of marketing in Web3.
Although we see many brands experimenting in the space and engaging existing and new customers, there is HUGE potential for every company over the next couple of years, similar to the opportunities that presented themselves when the internet first started being used. Many people back then thought it would be a waste of time to have websites because not many people had access to the internet at the time, and when they did, connections were incredibly poor. The brands that ploughed ahead into the unexplored territory of the deep blue sea, reaped the rewards long term. The difference here is that contrary to what many people believe, the infrastructure is there for mass adoption (although we are seeing advancements made all the time). If we remove the barriers to entry of Metaverse experiences, such as VR headsets and embrace our existing devices such as desktops and mobiles, customers can have a next level brand experiences that is sure to leave them excited and engaged.
The first place to start is in educating yourself as to what this new technology means and how it has the potential to positively influence your brand or industry. KVA have always been at the forefront of being creative with technology, and we would love to help you explore these new territories, create your Metaverse and Web3 marketing strategy and explore these new and exciting opportunities.
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