A metaverse is a virtual world where users interact via avatars and create a social and immersive experience. While it’s often viewed as science fiction, the technology is already taking hold in a variety of real-life applications. Some companies are using the metaverse to host concerts and events, while others have launched online skate parks that draw in millions of visitors. Nike and Vans have also gotten in on the action, allowing consumers to visit their digital shoe stores and even design and customize their own sneakers.
With the advent of VR headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 from Facebook-acquired Meta and augmented reality (AR) experiences, metaverse technology has been on the rise. However, many people still don’t know what the metaverse is or how it works. With some experts predicting the metaverse will be as powerful as the Internet and other tech innovations, it’s important for marketers to understand this concept so they can plan campaigns that take advantage of it.
For the uninitiated, metaverse is essentially an alternate reality that exists in a virtual space and is populated with virtual avatars that represent real people. It’s similar to the world of Minecraft, which has become a popular game that allows players to build their own environments and interact with other avatars in 3D virtual settings. Other popular games described as being part of the metaverse include Habbo Hotel, World of Warcraft and Fortnite. In addition, virtual meeting software like VRChat and video gaming creation platform Roblox are also considered to be parts of the metaverse.
While a number of industries have adopted metaverse technology, it has seen the greatest popularity among gaming fans. This is due in large part to the immersive nature of the experience, as well as the fact that it allows people to interact with friends and family who are not physically present. Musicians and entertainment labels have embraced the technology as well, with major artists like Travis Scott, Ariana Grande, Marshmello and Lil Nas X hosting live performances on metaverse platforms. Sports teams have also begun to use the platform, with Manchester City building a virtual stadium that fans can attend and even purchase merchandise.
As the popularity of VR grows, experts are predicting that the metaverse will soon be as widespread as the Internet. In fact, investment firm BlackRock has created an exchange-traded fund focused on investing in tech companies that are seen to be involved with the metaverse, including Apple, Microsoft and chip makers Nvidia and Qualcomm. Other potential investments include AR developer Asus, 3D modeling software maker Dassault Systemes and gaming companies like Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft.
However, there are some obstacles that may hinder the metaverse’s growth, such as the need for expensive tethered VR headsets and the general disconnect that many users feel from their physical world when wearing them. Some experts believe that augmented reality (AR) could solve these issues by digitally enhancing the physical environment with information about what is happening in the metaverse. Additionally, edge computing, a type of data transfer technology that allows for faster speeds and lower lag, is expected to make it easier and more convenient for people to tap into the metaverse.