Is the Metaverse dead? Around two years have passed since Mark Zuckerberg announced a change of course for his group: full steam ahead in the direction of the Metaverse. What happened after that: there were and are a lot of reports about the child with the new name "Meta". Some companies and brands answered the call of the new. They launched initiatives on various platforms – or opened their own right away. Is that enough?
There is an ongoing tension between high expectations and central challenges. As with every innovation, relevance and benefit ultimately determine its adaptation and thus its success. On the one hand, a major international corporation recently gave the go-ahead for a billion-euro investment in the Industrial Metaverse in the presence of German Chancellor Scholz. This ignited "the next stage of digitization" and connected "the digital world with the real world". On the other hand, however, the first steps taken by the European Union in the metaverse caused incomprehension among taxpayers. The Experience for Information around the planned "Global Gateway Initiative" lacked concrete added value. The cost-benefit ratio was therefore at least questionable.
The latter in particular is also occupying many companies and shaping their attitude toward the metaverse. Some were quick to make their own commitments and are betting large sums on growth in the virtual world. Others are exercising caution and hesitating. After all, no one can say today exactly how the metaverse will develop in concrete terms. What is undisputed, however, is that it is already possible to generate revenue there – and in different ways.
While a user in the sandbox paid around 450,000 U.S. dollars "just" to become the virtual neighbor of U.S. rapper Snoop Dogg, well-known fashion brands offer clothes for avatars for sale on the Roblox platform (around 66 million active users daily) - and with success. In Decentraland, on the other hand, it is possible to order pizza from a well-known fast-food chain and have it conveniently delivered to your "real" door in exchange for payment via cryptocurrency.
Admittedly: Much in the context of Metaverse sounds primarily like gaming and entertainment as well as a high investment with a manageable return. And yet a serious communication and interaction channel with enormous potential is developing - even for small and medium-sized companies and far away from the entertainment industry.
After all, identification and preference can be strengthened via immersive experiences for almost any brand and purchase decisions can thus be positively influenced, not only in e-commerce. What's more, a steadily growing number of people can easily be found and reached there.
The Market research firm Gartner predicts that by 2026, around 25% of people will spend at least an hour a day on the Metaverse to exchange ideas, work, educate themselves, or shop. And as adoption and advancements grow, so will the opportunities.
This allows B2B teams to collaborate virtually to exchange ideas and develop concepts. And immersive environments provide the ideal conditions for conducting complex experiments and simulations that would be costly or difficult to implement in the physical world.
Educational institutions have the opportunity to create learning environments where students can experience and understand content in an interactive way.
Medical practices can consult patients in digital consulting rooms, which would improve access to healthcare, especially in remote areas. And diagnosis via virtual models of the human body can help to better understand diseases, make diagnoses and develop new treatment methods.
But despite all the euphoria as business drivers, there are some essential factors to consider. After all, a convincing Metaverse commitment requires not only the use of innovative technologies and a wide range of design options. It also requires a high degree of responsibility and adherence to moral and ethical principles. How the whole thing will develop, also in view of stricter regulations with regard to data protection and accessibility, but above all in the course of growing technical possibilities, is currently still completely open.
As a platform for trading virtual goods and services, the Metaverse will almost certainly account for a significant share of global GDP, opening up new opportunities for companies and investors. We may soon see numerous product portfolios augmented by virtual items alongside physical ones. For example, users could also equip their avatars with the latest achievements.
Roblox, Decentraland or rather the sandbox? Or maybe directly an own environment? The choice of the right platform sometimes depends on the defined target group. But what happens if the target group is spread across different applications – or if the new virtual place to be suddenly shoots out of the ground? One of the first answers to this question is the "First Meta Sneaker", which - once purchased – can be used as an NFT on several platforms. And each with the corresponding graphic look.
As a growing number of people spend more and more time on virtual platforms, they will sooner or later become a permanent fixture in the channel mix. With their often diverse opportunities for social interaction, their chances of outstripping traditional social networks are not bad. Does the metaverse even mark the end of Facebook and Instagram?
This is just a small excerpt of thought experiments on possible scenarios and developments. It remains to be seen whether and to what extent they will ultimately come to pass. Some things remain to be seen, but some can already be guessed at and even helped to shape. And that is precisely what makes it so exciting from our point of view.
So, hype or next big thing? It all depends on what we as companies, users and ultimately society make of it. Many things can be built and developed. But the decisive factor is whether the concept fits the company and the target group - and ideally fulfills a relevant need.
This much is certain: The metaverse already offers many companies a number of opportunities from which people can benefit in both the virtual and the real world. These need to be identified and individually evaluated, because it is precisely on this basis that the actual added value can ultimately be defined – both functionally and monetarily.
regardless of whether you already have a concrete use case in mind or whether it still needs to be identified: Together we will find out if and how you can successfully use the Metaverse as an organization. Let's talk!