Although the infrastructure of the metaverse is still under construction, companies and brands are taking the leap into this new world.
We’ve seen many changes in our society over the last few years, but nothing holds the potential for change quite like the Metaverse.
When Mark Zuckerburg announced Facebook’s new parent company, Meta, in 2021, conversation about the future societal impact of such an immersive social platform took the world by storm.
And for a good reason.
Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), smart glasses, social media, and cryptocurrency previously existed as separate but related ideas.
The Metaverse combines these moving parts to create a powerful tool for businesses and marketers alike.
Normal physical boundaries do not limit this world; therein lies its appeal for those seeking a more global reach.
How did the concept of the metaverse evolve and where is it headed?
let’s find out
How virtual reality started with online gaming
The concept of virtual reality and augmented reality has steadily entered mainstream culture over the past 20 years. The gambling industry was the first to take advantage of it and integrated it into different platforms.
Games like Pokémon Go (2016) and Fortnite (2017) revolve around using these technologies to connect people through their apps.
Pokémon Go is one of the biggest and most successful augmented reality games in the industry.
When its popularity exploded in 2016, it ushered in a new era of integrating augmented reality into our everyday lives. AR integrates the digital and physical worlds into one.
Fortnite, a virtual reality game that uses avatars to represent players, lets people fight each other in real-time and participate in events taking place in that particular metaverse.
These two very popular games helped introduce the concept of “augmented reality” (XR) to society.
Augmented or mixed reality refers to any event that combines an element of the real with the virtual. These include augmented reality and virtual reality forms.
XR creates a more immersive experience for users, blurring the lines between reality and what is generated by technology.
This mix of realities creates infinite possibilities for integrating different technologies to create a more holistic and immersive user experience.
Is the Average Consumer Ready for the Metaverse?
The Metaverse will push marketing and most of society deeper into digital innovation and immersion.
But are consumers ready? Early adopters were excited to embrace the new technologies, but what about regular consumers?
According to a survey of approximately 9,000 consumers around the world conducted by Accenture in late 2022, more than 70% of consumers intend to use the Metaverse in non-gaming environments in the next two to five years.
However, what consumers expect from the Metaverse in gaming and non-gaming environments could be very different. According to the survey, non-gaming users are less focused on the technologies and more on what they can make of it.
In other words, consumers will come to the Metaverse when they receive value added to their “real” life, e.g. B. by helping them connect with friends and family, shop and complete certain tasks in less time.
Regular consumers see the Metaverse as a new way to help them do what they’ve always wanted or needed to do.
The Metaverse is closer than ever – in fact, it’s already here
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, the Metaverse could generate $5 trillion in revenue for businesses by 2030.
While the metaverse is still in its early stages, there are many opportunities to take advantage of today.
Metaverse-native companies like CryptoMotors make money building and selling digital assets for the Metaverse.
Traditional companies are also increasingly using the Metaverse to create added value for their customers.
Real estate developer ONE Sotheby’s has a project called Meta Residence One that builds a home along with its digital replica and sells both the digital home and the physical home together.
The owner of the twin houses can welcome guests in both the real world and the metaverse.
While Metaverse Commerce may not be a good fit for your business, the potential of using the Metaverse as an advertising and marketing channel is endless.
As average consumers look for value and enhanced experiences in the metaverse, it’s important for marketers to think beyond the technologies and instead focus on how to better serve customers’ needs in this virtual world.
How ChatGPT affects the metaverse
While news of the Metaverse has recently been overshadowed by generative artificial intelligence, most notably OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the development and deployment of the Metaverse is progressing.
In fact, the rise of ChatGPT will help make the metaverse an even more vibrant place.
Having non-player characters or NPCs in a digital game isn’t new.
So far, however, NPCs lack the “intelligence” to interact openly and unscripted with human players. AI technologies like GPT-4, which powers ChatGPT, will change that.
To get a glimpse of what this interaction between human characters and computer-generated characters will be like, head over to Character.ai, where you can create virtual characters with “personalities” or simply chat with them individually or in group settings.
Now think of these characters as avatars in the Metaverse, with faces and voices. Not only can they speak, but they also act and behave in ways that reflect their unique “personalities.”
For example, Replica, an AI companion app, already allows people to build their own chatbots, dress them up in Replica Store clothing and accessories, and enjoy the company of their chatbots in their own bedrooms through augmented reality.
What to expect next from the Metaverse
In the future, you can expect everyday consumers to get more Metaverse-enabled hardware. Apple has already invested in augmented reality, and its virtual reality headsets, also known as Apple Glasses, could launch later this year.
Other tech giants like Meta, Google and Amazon are also working on products to offer consumers more immersive experiences.
On the business front, brands like Burberry and Gucci are already promoting and selling virtual goods using AR and VR. Restaurant chains such as McDonald’s and Panera Breads have already filed trademark applications for their Metaverse stores.
We will see more companies testing new ideas in the metaverse to better engage and serve their customers.
A new trend that will emerge is the corporate metaverse, where companies use the metaverse to train and empower their employees to collaborate more effectively from anywhere in the world.
Marketers should pay close attention to the development and progress of the Metaverse.
Those who are skeptical may be missing out on a significant amount of digital innovation that will transform how society does business and functions as a whole.
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