In this new decade, we are seeing the physical and virtual worlds blending. “Metaverse” has been a buzzword for a while but recently we have been seeing it used much more often especially associated with Facebook. They have recently changed their business name from Facebook to Meta in response to this new evolution of technology.
To put it simply, the metaverse is an all-encompassing term that refers to virtual reality and interacting with realistic elements online. Many people consider it to be a 3D version of the internet. Mark Zuckerberg and other tech giants are investing billions into developing this technology. In reality, it is an integration of many kinds of technology from video calls and cryptocurrency to virtual worlds and holograms. It is all a work in progress because nothing like this exists yet!
Currently, companies use the term “metaverse” to refer to many different types of enhanced online environments. Video games like Fortnite are included while virtual dressing rooms are as well. Companies like Microsoft and Meta have attempted to create virtual workplaces called Mesh and Horizon Workrooms, respectively as well.
Video games are likely the application you hear about the most when it comes to the metaverse. While the future of the metaverse is much more expansive than this, the gaming industry has been a clear early adopter of the type of technology that the metaverse will include.
There are two technologies that seem to be the most important in the development and growth of the metaverse. These are virtual reality and augmented reality.
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated 3D environment that allows users to interact with virtual surroundings in a way that is similar to how we perceive reality through our senses. This is typically done through a VR headset that takes over a user’s field of vision. Haptics, including gloves, vests, and even full-body tracking suits, are available at a price to enable more lifelike interaction with the virtual environment.
Augmented reality (AR) is a less immersive experience than VR. It adds digital overlays on top of the real world via some type of lens. While experiencing AR, users are still able to interact with their real-world environment. The popular phone game Pokémon Go is an early example of AR in use.
Some experts believe that “a large proportion of people will be in the metaverse in some way” by 2030. But if that is to be the case, it is going to require a lot of development. In its current form, it simply isn’t attainable for most people.
The first challenge facing developers of this virtual world is the accessibility of the hardware currently required. The second challenge is the need to be able to take virtual items with you from one platform to another, also known as interoperability. Many experts in the industry believe this will be a vital part of making the metaverse work in the future. Finally, there will of course be legal and commercial challenges, just like every new type of technology experience. Case in point: NFTs.
At this point, there isn’t anything brands need to be doing to make the shift into the metaverse. However, research shows marketers will be some of the first groups to adopt, before consumers. There will be many similarities to regular social media posting, like cross-overs between platforms. User-generated content will also be heavily valued in the metaverse.
Some brands are already investing in technology that will impact the metaverse, like virtual reality. Creating a filter for Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok is very similar to how the future of marketing for the metaverse will work. As cryptocurrency becomes more popular, it is likely more businesses will start accepting it as payment.
The metaverse is currently a source of inspiration for the future. The idea of it is growing and changing. For now, businesses don’t need to drastically shift their marketing goals to include the metaverse. If you have the budget to play around with virtual reality filters, this could prepare you for future technological advancements!