As the number of people on digital platforms continues to grow, there is a parallel rise of virtual spaces and virtual worlds.
While virtual reality may seem like an irrelevant technology, its uses are increasing. An increasing number of industries use virtual environments already.
Given the opportunity to create a new world, how far would you go? What if you could live your dreams in a place that is not our own. Would you take advantage of the opportunity?
Imagine walking through a museum and coming upon your favorite painting. You can look at it from any angle, even walk around and get a close up view. Feel free to study the brush strokes, learn about what inspired the artist and keep a list of questions for your next visit.
ICYMI — Here’s a short summary of the metaverse
Virtual worlds have been around for a long time, with Second Life as one of the earliest examples. The current interest in these spaces is driven by the availability of high-performance computing and AI-driven tools. As a result, we are now witnessing the creation of metaverses: persistent virtual worlds that are available 24/7 and enable transactions between avatars (in-world representations of human beings).
What is the metaverse about? A metaverse is like planet Earth, but with far more possibilities — think of it as an alternate reality that exists alongside ours. You can do anything you want in a metaverse — there are no limits to your imagination. You can travel to different planets, meet friends and strangers, or go shopping. You can create virtual experiences, events, or even businesses in a metaverse.
A metaverse is like planet Earth, but with far more possibilities — think of it as an alternate reality that exists alongside ours.
While there are many different concepts of a metaverse in the tech industry, most share common attributes:
1. It’s accessible via an assortment of devices. This includes desktop computers and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It’s also possible to access it via augmented reality (AR) glasses or even VR goggles.
2. The metaverse is open source. Anyone can develop applications for it. Some proprietary applications are available, however they must be hosted on an open source platform (such as OpenSim or Unity).
3. There are multiple layers in the metaverse. This includes entertainment and informational content such as news websites and blogs, as well as social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.”
Who’s investing in the metaverse?
There are already many companies creating their own metaverses — Linden Labs (Second Life), Epic Games (Fortnite), Roblox, Decentraland, Facebook Horizon and so on. Venture capitalists are also actively investing in metaverse startups that are developing new technologies and applications for this space.
The metaverse is a new universe that will be built on the internet — or a decentralized version of the internet. It’s an online hub for social interaction, entertainment, and commerce. Think of it as a mashup of all the different digital universes we have today — like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitch and Fortnite.
At first glance, it might seem like we’re already using social media to meet our friends and colleagues in places that aren’t real. Or that we’re using apps like Google Maps to walk around in our own city streets, seeing what’s around us with augmented reality glasses or goggles. But no matter how much you enjoy these experiences, there are still limits to what you can do when you can only go where the developer wants you to go.
The metaverse will be a shared, persistent space where people can interact with each other and virtual objects, no matter what device they’re using. Social interactions will look identical on a smartphone as they do on a console or VR headset.
The metaverse will be a shared, persistent space where people can interact with each other and virtual objects, no matter what device they’re using.
The metaverse is still in its infancy today. But many tech companies are working to bring it to fruition. And if they succeed, the benefits to businesses could be enormous — including new opportunities for distribution and monetization.
What’s on the horizon?
I may be a little bit biased, but I believe the metaverse will change the way we shop, work and connect with other people. The metaverse will reinvent the way we interact with each other and engage with brands.
New virtual reality startups — an innovation that essentially opened a doorway to the Metaverse — are already changing our world and people’s habits.
The metaverse is also bringing massive opportunities to businesses. It will be a place where you can meet your customers and add value to your business. For example, you could provide support services, hold virtual events, or sell products in new ways. It is a concept that has been around for decades, but it is coming to fruition now, driven by technological advancements such as VR/AR and 5G internet.
People and businesses will be able to have virtual meetings, attend conferences, shop at virtual stores, and even create their own virtual worlds. It will be a shared space where people can interact with each other and digital objects in real-time. The metaverse will be a set of interconnected virtual worlds that are persistent, meaning they don’t go away when you log off.
While trying to replicate the online experience, companies and organizations are finding ways to apply virtual reality within their walls. The gaming industry sees this as a favorable selling platform in the near future.
How gaming is influencing the metaverse.
We have seen the rise of video games over the last two decades and their popularity across all demographics. Some games, such as Fortnite, have become cultural icons. And recently, the game industry hit a milestone: more than $1 billion was spent on digital content in a single month.
more than $1 billion was spent on digital content in a single month.
Tilt Brush, Google’s new VR drawing app, has the potential to be a major new revenue stream for publishers. Ranging from 99 cents to $15, there are already hundreds of thousands of dollars changing hands in Tilt Brush. You may not think about monetizing your art through an Oculus Quest or HTC Vive, but when you are immersed in an entirely new world, anything becomes possible.
I believe this is just the beginning of a revolution that will see increasing adoption of virtual and augmented reality to change how we live and work in the future.
There’s more to it than gaming though.
Virtual reality is a technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined, and simulates a user’s physical presence and environment, allowing them to interact in that world. It creates the illusion of being able to “be there”.
The metaverse will be a place where you can meet up with friends, but also where you can hang out as a brand — micro-experiences for consumers to immerse themselves in. Brands will have a presence and new business models are expected to emerge.
When I meet people who are interested in the metaverse, they often ask me what opportunities there are for making money. They assume that there is a simple answer to this question, and that it is obvious. There isn’t one simple answer, but many more complex answers. To make it even more complicated, the answers are different depending on whether you are a content creator or a technology developer.
The opportunities for content creators range from selling virtual real estate to selling branded virtual products (like Apple iPods) to selling branded virtual services (like an insurance company offering protection against theft).
The opportunities for technology developers range from providing infrastructure and enabling technologies to service providers (as with Second Life’s Linden Lab) to social media platforms allowing people to connect with others in the metaverse (like Facebook).
More opportunities for monetization.
There are two more monetization models to make content in virtual reality. One is advertising, and the other is micro-transactions.
The current state of advertising techniques including: full screen ads, interstitial ads, mid-air banner ads, floating HUD ads, and static billboards.
Advertising in virtual reality is no different than advertising on a traditional website or mobile application. Most advertisers will want to take advantage of all available touchpoints within the VR experience to ensure that they get maximum exposure for their brand.
One challenge with this model is that although it’s “immersive”, it doesn’t really provide much interactivity for the consumer or engage them in any way. Marketers will need to come up with new and innovative ways to advertise in the metaverse in ways that facilitate more meaningful engagement with customers.
The second monetization model is micro-transactions. This model is more interactive and engaging for the consumer.
The metaverse is one of the most disruptive technologies that will dominate near-future tech headlines. Sellers should be looking at the opportunities that exist in this virtual world because they can help their businesses grow.
The metaverse is one of the most disruptive technologies that will dominate near-future tech headlines.
If a business wanted to get involved with this type of venture they should follow these three rules:
1. Be the first mover
2. Offer something tangible that people want
3. Establish your brand before launching into the virtual world
Because the metaverse is still in development, it’s easy to be skeptical. But when you look at the number of industry players that are working on building it and the amount of investment they’re making, it’s clear that this is a real opportunity.
The metaverse is the next big thing for creative developers. If you’re building a social app now, you need to be thinking about how you’ll support it in the metaverse. It’s not just about games. It’s about commerce, communication and creativity, too. And that’s just what we can imagine now.
Virtual worlds have existed for over 30 years and traditional gaming has been around for decades, but now we have new technology that can bring them all together into a single experience. This will be an important shift in how we use computers and smartphones. I can’t wait to see what people do with it.
We are still early in our journey but it’s important to keep innovating and learning along the way. It will be a fun ride, and I hope you’ll come on it with us.