Have you heard about the metaverse? It’s a hot topic in gaming, tech, and even digital marketing — but start reading about it, and it’s easy to feel like you’re in over your head.
It’s being called the future of the digital world, and the good news is that you don’t have to be an expert to enter the metaverse. Here’s how to make the most of this opportunity right now.
What is the metaverse?
First things first. A metaverse is a shared virtual space that uses augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to create a realistic, immersive, and interactive experience. Every participant in the metaverse influences other participants’ experiences and the future of the metaverse going forward.
Although it’s often called the metaverse, there are multiple different metaverses in existence today. The largest and most popular metaverses are:
When you enter the metaverse, you’ll quickly notice there’s a lot of new vocabulary to learn. Here are a few of the most common concepts, at their most basic:
Augmented reality (AR): Composite technology that superimposes computer-generated images into your view of the real world.
Avatar: Your avatar is the digital character that represents you in the metaverse.
Blockchain: A blockchain is a platform that hosts a shared ledger of recorded information and transactions. Blockchains are decentralized, which means there’s no central authority controlling them. Blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies.
Creator economy: In a creator economy, people and brands create content and sell it in the metaverse. Anything can be created and sold, from digital products to services, and this element of the metaverse is predicted to become a billion dollar industry.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs): NFTs are unique digital certificates that live on blockchains and verify ownership of a digital asset.
Play-to-earn (P2E): People can play P2E games within a metaverse and earn cryptocurrencies, which they can then spend in the metaverse.
Virtual reality (VR): A computer-generated, 3D environment you can interact with in a way that feels lifelike.
This isn’t a complete list, so feel free to dive deeper into a more comprehensive metaverse glossary to learn more.
What makes a metaverse?
The metaverse is an extension of some familiar digital technology, but a handful of key features make it completely unlike anything else.
It’s always on
The metaverse can’t be turned off or reset. It’s always on, active, and ready when you want to join. It evolves over time with user contributions, and it doesn’t stop when you leave.
The metaverse is a 3D digital space without barriers or central ownership. Anyone can join and do just about anything, and individual users control and own their data.
The metaverse creates a sensory experience with extended reality (XR) devices, like headsets and hand controls, that blur the lines between physical and virtual.
It stimulates real-time social engagement
The metaverse facilitates relationship-building between users through real-time games and other experiences that are meant to be shared with others.
It utilizes a digital economy
The metaverse has digital marketplaces that operate entirely on decentralized digital cryptocurrency economies.
Taking your brand into the metaverse
The metaverse is still in early stages, and its full potential has yet to be realized. However, adventurous brands are already exploring how to enter the metaverse.
Creator economies and the decentralized nature of metaverses offer countless opportunities to establish your brand in this new digital world. You can create and sell NFTs for virtual goods, like food and clothing, design and offer services, host events and experiences, and more.
Here are a few examples of what companies are doing in the metaverse now:
Fast food restaurants are some of the first large brands to enter the metaverse. Chipotle, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and others have built virtual restaurants in metaverses and are curating experiences for their fans.
The experiences these brands offer in the metaverse vary, but users have opportunities to do things like order, make, and eat virtual meals, play games, or even earn coupons for real food.
Retail stores and products
Consumer product brands are also dabbling in the metaverse. The NFL was the first major sports league to enter the metaverse. The brand has created an online store and it offers games and live events for users. Nike built Nikeland, where users can buy Nike-branded products and compete in games against one another.
Even luxury brands are establishing themselves, with Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci creating digital goods and selling them on platforms dedicated to selling virtual luxury goods, like The Demateralised.
Services (and cities)
The metaverse isn’t just for games and shopping. It’s forecasted to change the way we interact with others on every level, including work and daily tasks. Organizations can leverage the metaverse for virtual meetings, create training simulations, and streamline complex administrative processes.
In fact, Seoul, South Korea, is the first city to enter the metaverse. The city is creating a virtual world for its municipal administration, where citizens can do everything from attending events to meeting with city officials.
We don’t know what the future holds. But we’re pretty sure that whatever it is, it’s in the metaverse — and we want to help you get there. Talk to our team about developing a stellar digital brand strategy to take to the next level.