When Mark Zuckerberg renamed his social media company “Meta” in October 2021, he sparked a frenzied conversation about the metaverse. The idea of a virtual world that changes the way we socialize, work, and play has both captured the imagination and provoked confusion among individuals and brands alike. What the discussion might not have made apparent is that the seeds of this nascent virtual reality are already present in the online world. It’s impossible to fully predict what the metaverse will ultimately look like, in much the same way that early discussions of the internet couldn’t have accurately reflected all the ways in which technology is inextricably intertwined in our daily lives today, but key trends are already emerging.
The idea of interacting with other users in an online reality that persists even when you’re not online is not new—players in massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft or a world-building game Minecraft have been populating such spaces for years. However, the idea of what can be accomplished in such spaces has been evolving. For example, the online game Fortnite has hosted live in-game concerts that have attracted millions of viewers from all over the world. But redefining online life isn’t simply a matter of expanding entertainment options. The global pandemic pushed both businesses and individuals into a heavier reliance on technology as typical in-person activities were curtailed. With a wider audience spending more time online, the stage is set for a technological leap forward.
The Race to Dominate the Metaverse
One open question about the metaverse is the extent to which it will incorporate virtual reality and/or augmented reality to define the user experience. Currently, major companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Meta are working to develop VR and AR headsets at prices that will make them budget-friendly for most consumers. What is clear is that major companies aren’t waiting for virtual 3D to become a widespread reality to start claiming a stake in the developing metaverse.
Retailers are already creating a new kind of digital commerce to sell virtual goods or market their brands within these new online spaces. Walmart is taking steps to sell goods from electronics and home decorations to health and nutrition classes in augmented and virtual reality. Fashion houses such as Gucci and Balenciaga have partnered with online game makers to create virtual accessories and clothing players could purchase, while Louis Vuitton created Louis the Game to showcase its brand. Similarly, Nike has acquired RTFKT, a popular digital sneaker company that parallels the real-world company’s niche in the metaverse.
There’s also the beginnings of a “land rush” among investors who see the potential in the metaverse’s future. Tokens.com purchased real estate in the fashion district of Decentraland, a 3D virtual world platform that is one of the largest and most developed lands in the metaverse. Republic Realm also purchased 259 parcels of Decentraland to create a virtual shopping district called Metajuku. And in yet another sign the concept of the metaverse is going mainstream, Miller Lite announced plans to create a bar in Decentraland to host fans during the Super Bowl.
What Does the Metaverse Mean for You?
While not every company may be ready to stake a claim in the metaverse with a purchase of the virtual real estate, it’s clear that everyone needs to be thinking about how their brand can fit into the new online world. Creating a distinctive presence in the metaverse will be vital for businesses to connect to their potential clients in virtual space. The time to be crafting that presence is now, so your company is poised to take its place in the metaverse as more and more people explore what it has to offer.
Squash & Stretch Productions can help put a unique stamp on your metaverse presence. Our custom-created graphics and animations will make your business stand out with unique visuals and stories that will capture and hold your audience’s attention. Start creating an avatar and character that can grow into the metaverse. To find out more about how Squash & Stretch can keep you on the cutting edge of impactful communication, contact us here.