You might have heard the term “Web 3.0” pop up everywhere. It’s the concept of the next generation of the Internet.
Currently, we’re at the Web 2.0 stage. Let’s say you have an awesome Instagram account. Meta is the one that owns the content you create on there. They reserve the right to ban your account. As we move towards a new age of the Internet, users will have more autonomy and control over their online creations, identities, digital assets, etc. There’s no doubt Web 3.0 will complement the Metaverse, which is what we’ll be focusing on today.
We’ll explore what the Metaverse is, how the concept came about, how it will change the technology landscape, and how marketing comes into play.
Here are the topics we’ll cover:
Editor’s Note: One thing to note is that Facebook (now known as Meta) is working on building the “Metaverse,” but other tech giants like Google are also developing their own. When we say “metaverse” in this article, we will be referring to this new concept as a whole, not just Facebook’s “Meta.”
What is the Metaverse
If you Google the term “metaverse,” there might be countless definitions, but here is what you need to know.
It is a virtual world where people can interact, socialize, conduct business and enjoy entertainment. It would be a virtual world powered by the Internet, physical reality, and augmented reality (AR).
Metaverse is the blend of the words “meta” (beyond) and “universe,” which is the term used to describe the futuristic version of the Internet.
Practically, the metaverse will be creating brand new experiences people want, offering new marketplaces to engage in commerce, and digital asset ownership that gets used in the world you interact with.
Here is Adobe’s mockup of what a day in the life of augmented reality might look like:
How Did the Concept of Metaverse Originate
Why is the Metaverse Being Developed Now
In April 2022, Lego announced that they partnered up with Epic Games (who created Fortnite) and are working to develop a kid-friendly metaverse that’s safe, interactive, and enjoyable. You can see that it’s not just a fad but a tangible concept big companies are investing in heavily.
Hot take: in a sense, Tech titans like Google, Amazon, and Facebook are the middleman of the economy.
On one side, we have brands selling products and services, and on the other end are the consumers. Advertising platforms are in the middle, selling these brands and pushing people to purchase, funneling them through the customer journey, again and again, pushing the economy along.
The metaverse isn’t created only for gamers; the goal is to create a new Internet landscape for people of all ages and walks of life to enjoy.
Sure, Virtual Reality has been gaining popularity in the past few years: Steam, Oculus, etc. have all been developing VR headsets and games for home consumption. But, COVID-19 was what shifted the general population online more than ever:
- Virtual meetings
- Live-streamed events
- Real-time gatherings taking place in games
- Snapchat filters that make you grow a beard
- Eyeglasses brands that enable you to try on glasses virtually
Layers of the Metaverse
Just how many components will make up the metaverse? More than you think! Jon Radoff, an entrepreneur and game tech expert, created an informative slide deck on the metaverse. In it, he highlights the seven layers of the metaverse. We’ll break it down from the core.
Misconceptions of the Metaverse
You need a VR Headset to experience the metaverse.
No. That’s not true. Even though VR headsets seem to be one of the current technology devices that enable you to experience virtual reality, it’s not accessible for everybody, and it won’t be the only way to experience metaverse.
As mentioned above, many companies are building out other ways to partake in a metaverse. Screens like smartphones, SmartTVs, and tablets are all integral to our daily lives. We predict that they will be essential for people to gain accessibility to the metaverse.
Take a look at these examples:
DJ Marshmellow hosted a virtual concert in the game: Fortnite. It’s a game available on gaming consoles (PlayStation and mobile. Players were able to attend the virtual concert, as their avatars in the game. It promoted a sense of community and exclusivity at the same time.
27.7 million unique users attended the concert – can you believe that?
The level of immersion and engagement is pretty neat, right?
Facebook (Meta) owns the Metaverse.
Meta repeated that not one company would own the metaverse. However, Meta’s got their eyes on the prize by investing heavily in building infrastructure to allow other brands and developers can use to create their own immersive experiences. This means Meta would own a lot of the real estate. Other tech titans like Google or Roblox will probably be “landlords” in the metaverse. Other companies would have to use their proprietary schemas and APIs. Cha-ching!
If I want to market my brand in the metaverse, I need to be an engineer.
How Metaverse Will Revolutionize the Internet
We’ve seen the boom in popularity when it comes to NFTs. People enjoy art and culture. People also want to own digital assets. It’s the best of both worlds. The metaverse is where real-life, virtual reality, art, and experiences come together. Then, add on monetizing capabilities.
We had always emphasized the potential of gamers and their purchase power. People spend billions of dollars on skins (digital clothing) and accessories for their virtual avatars in games like Fortnite. Statista predicts that by 2025, the worldwide consumer spend on in-game purchases will hit $74.4 billion. It’s a huge monetization opportunity for brands.
A great example of this is Gucci. They designed a digital pair of sneakers for Hypebeasts. They cost $17. At this price point, the luxury brand becomes attainable for many people. It enables them to show it off online and in person. Here is someone trying it on in person:
The metaverse concept is like the Internet in the 90’s, brewing like blockchains. It will break down barriers and merge with our daily lives. The metaverse is something to be experienced together, not something to be divisive over (much like how Facebook currently can be).
With Google and Facebook investing billions of dollars into it, it’s a force to be reckoned with!
Opportunities for Marketers in the Metaverse
The metaverse isn’t just 3D or 2D. Game tech expert, Jon Radoff says, “It’s about the inexorable dematerialization of physical space, distance, and objects“.
It’s not limited to gaming, but we anticipate that many gaming models will influence how it operates.
Radoff explains this flywheel model of live games and how it would translate to the metaverse. The metaverse will nurture the community by providing various activities, stories to share, and building events around cooperation and competition.
It is a repeated cycle of user engagement, social interaction, and monetization.
- Partnering with Snapchat (branded augmented reality).
- Offering NFTs as well as creating a virtual store inside the game, NBA2K.
Emerging platforms allow early adopters to build audiences before they’re oversaturated. Growing on more established platforms becomes increasingly difficult with time. A hierarchy already exists in those places, making upward mobility nearly impossible.
“In a world shifting from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, marketers will no longer be able to pay for eyeballs. Paying to grow a ‘community’ isn’t going to be possible. Investing the time and effort in understanding web3 and metaverse now, when the stakes are low, is a worthwhile investment that will pay dividends for decades to come.
– Brendan Gahan, Chief Social Officer & Partner, Mekanism
We look forward to immersive user experiences that elevate the way consumers interact with your brand. Let’s use one of our clients, SkiBig3, as an example. As the Marketing Organization for three world-class ski resorts in Banff National Park, what could they look like in the metaverse? We envision that users could try out AR ski experiences and walk through the resorts as their avatars, and be able to book their visit directly in the metaverse.
We’re always trying to think outside of the box in the marketing industry. The development of the metaverse allows our imagination to run wild!
Predictions for the Future
1. For the metaverse to reach full-scale adaption rides on a big player: Apple. It seems like an Augmented Reality on iOS is coming down their pipeline too. Plus, there are rumors that Apple is developing their own VR headset-like device, “Apple Glasses.” If the big three: Apple, Meta, and Google invest heavily in the metaverse, other tech companies are more likely to join in and speed up the development.
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