What are the true opportunities of the metaverse and more immersive digital environments, and more specifically for marketers, how will it change the way people shop, interact with brands and advertising approaches?
That’s the focus of a new whitepaper from Analysis Group, in partnership with Meta, which seeks to provide a realistic perspective on where things are headed with the changing metaverse, which may or may not become a tangible and valuable reality for another. decade.
But it is, at least according to Meta, on its way, and that will open up new opportunities.
Firstly, the white paper seeks to define what exactly the metaverse is – an important element considering how many companies are reaping profits from their ‘metaverse-ready’ solutions.
Depending on the role:
“One way to think of the metaverse is as a set of interconnected digital spaces, including immersive XR experiences that blend digital and physical words, where people can easily move between different spaces and experiences, as well as interact and collaborate with others. people who are not in the same physical space.”
I mean, that seems pretty straightforward and in line with the broader definition of the metaverse experience, as we’ve been shown in various promotional mockups from Zuck and Co.
But the practicalities of that are also important: how will we get there and, more importantly, how far away is the next stage of connection?
The answer on that front is that it will take time, and Analysis Group is careful to point out that it may never happen:
“Like many other previously ‘hyped’ technological innovations, the metaverse may never come to fruition as currently envisioned.”
But to become the platform of the future, it will need mass adoption, which means broader adoption of VR headsets, the rollout of AR goggles, and other technologies.
“As with the Internet and other technologies, the shape of the metaverse will materialize slowly at first, and only after critical mass adoption is achieved will its full potential begin to take on more concrete form.”
So he’s not here yet, and he won’t be here for some time. So you don’t need to do ‘everything’ in your metaverse strategy, and you shouldn’t feel compelled to jump on the NFT bandwagon at this point.
It will take time, which means it has time, which, as Meta’s Nick Clegg points out, also means regulators have time and space to institute new rules and frameworks for the evolving space.
“As has been the case throughout the development of the Internet, interoperable standards and protocols will be developed by different people and companies over time, often set by institutions such as the US-based National Institute of Standards and Technology or international multi-stakeholder organizations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force or the World Wide Web Consortium.”
In his essay, Clegg builds on the Analysis Group whitepaper with a call for governments to work together to build a regulatory approach to the evolving space.
“A metaverse that is open and interconnected is not only the right thing to do for users, and something that will involve technical and policy work from industry and regulators, but it is also the kind of thing that could come to distinguish the metaverse in parts of the world that still believe in an open internet from the metaverses built in other parts of the world where a closed internet has been built in recent years.”
Clegg notes that it will take a ‘constellation of technologies, platforms, and products’ to work together to build the metaverse space, and that will likely need some level of outside oversight, because while the Meta would love to own the metaverse, it also knows from experience that he does not want to be the one who establishes the rules in the new space.
Acting now, Clegg says, is key to ensuring we are prepared for the next change. Because again, as detailed in the AG report, we are still developing the building blocks of the next phase.
“The way mobile technology combined existing technologies like phones, the Internet, cameras and mp3 players and evolved to change the way we use the Internet is reminiscent of the path the metaverse seems to be on. Combining existing technologies such as phones, the Internet, cameras, and mp3 players into a single mobile device has fundamentally altered the way we connect to the Internet by overcoming geographical limitations. Existing conceptions of the metaverse have a similar flavor of combining existing technologies, such as AR/VR, video conferencing, multiplayer gaming, and digital currency, and turning them into something new.”
It’s important to keep this in mind, because while people are getting on board with new trends like NFTs, looking ahead, the fact is we don’t know what role these types of items will play in the next metaverse shift.
It’s also hard to take anything definitive from AG’s report on potential value, because, as he points out, he’s not in a position to speculate whether the metaverse will succeed, he’s simply mapping its potential based on past technological advances. But with this comparison in mind, if the metaverse were to grow in the same way that mobile technology has developed, it could become a $3.01 trillion industry by 2031.
There’s a lot to consider here, and a lot to get right. For example, the AG report notes that multiple platforms will need to work together for the metaverse to work.
“For example, a user is required to have an individual account to access a social media app like Twitter or TikTok and an individual account to access a gaming console like Xbox or PlayStation. But in the metaverse, a user would be empowered to consume digital goods and services seamlessly. Andrew Chow of Time magazine supports this view, writing: “Instead of having separate Facebook and Twitter accounts where everything you post is owned by those corporations, you will be able to own your digital personality and all of your ideas and belongings. digital wherever you go. .” For example, a person could purchase a piece of clothing or a digital accessory from one platform and still “wear” it when visiting another platform, rather than that digital good being restricted for use within the platform from which the person bought it initially. ”
That would be an amazing breakthrough, and it’s possible, but Meta is essentially asking regulators to put new rules and systems in place now to make it easier for this to exist. Because the platforms themselves will have little motivation to integrate in this way, unless they have to or the financial benefits of doing so are too great to ignore.
Meta appears to be leaning its momentum towards the former, establishing new rules, which govern all partners in the metaverse, to prevent trade conflicts or rule-setting by certain platforms. Meta has been highly critical of Apple’s restrictions on iOS apps, which is a similar issue to the one you point out here: if regulations aren’t built into the metaverse framework right now, it’s going to be harder and harder to enforce the rules. once any system, and its accepted norms, is in place.
So, essentially, the metaverse is still a long way off, and a lot needs to happen for it to be the universal, interoperable, VR alternative that Meta envisions.
In other words, don’t get too far ahead of the metaverse just yet, and don’t waste your money on the latest trends. Evaluate each one as it arrives, considering if it fits your business. But don’t think that anyone trying to sell you in the metaverse is already here and ready to go brand hunting.
You can read Analysis Group’s full white paper here and Nick Clegg’s long Medium essay on changing the metaverse here.