The Metaverse has well and truly landed. All things 'metaverse' have reached fever pitch since Facebook's rebranding to Meta. The October 2021 announcement not only set out a vision for what a fully immersive digital world powered by VR would look like for the company's 2.89 billion monthly active users, but also confirmed a colossal investment in making this a reality – $10 billion this year alone. Since then, everyone's been talking about it.
But the idea of immersive digital worlds isn't a new concept. In fact, the idea was coined as far back as the early 1990s by sci-fi writers and brought to life through cinema and a number of experiments like online platform Second Life. So, what's changed? Well, in the past 18 months we've seen several key societal and technological shifts that have pushed the 'metaverse' from a somewhat niche idea to something that we're all arguably already living in. Facebook's announcement simply made it official.
Just consider the exponential popularity and mass adoption of digital gaming; the proliferation of e-commerce; the rise of social media and digital communities; the explosion of digital goods, NFTs and the new creator economy – all supported by significant advancements in enabling hardware and software. And then there was the pandemic, the lockdowns and their impact on consumer behaviour. This was the tipping point for the metaverse, as it forced mass consumer adoption of digital experiences almost overnight.
Today, manifestations of the 'metaverse' are everywhere. Most business meetings and interactions are virtual; NFT artwork is sold by major auction houses; global brands sell virtual fashion; virtual concerts attract record audiences; virtual land is being purchased by property developers; and even digital avatars are getting married. Yet it remains unclear what the metaverse will become. In fact, the only universal agreement about the metaverse is there's no singular definition of what it will look like.
Nevertheless, the potency of the 'metaverse' business opportunity for almost every brand is undeniable – as a new channel, a new category, a new consumer demographic or even a new geography.
At True, we don't like to think of the metaverse as a single all-encompassing world. But rather as a series of opportunities sitting at the intersection points between different use cases for digital or online experiences. Think of the overlapping areas between working, learning, creating, shopping, gaming, socialising or simply just being.
Any business or brand looking to participate in the development of the 'metaverse' should think about which intersection points it could or should play into and start experimenting in those areas.
If you're interested in exploring the strategic and commercial opportunities of this new 'metaverse' world, please reach out to our Innovation team - we'd love to hear from you.