Since Mark Zuckerberg announced in October 2021 that Meta (previously known as Facebook) was investing heavily in the metaverse, tech news has been dominated by the virtual world. Also, Microsoft recently announced its acquisition of gaming publisher, Activision Blizzard, foretelling the tech giant’s commitment to the metaverse. Countless articles, videos, podcasts, and the like have been created on the topic, detailing what consumers can expect from the metaverse. While we are not entirely sure of everything that will be available in the metaverse, some educated guesses are more likely to come to fruition than others. Here’s a list of 10 things that consumers can expect to experience in the metaverse:
The metaverse opens new opportunities in e-commerce. 3-D, interactive shopping experiences give consumers access to goods and services in unique ways. For example, instead of a static website replicating a physical Apple store, consumers could walk around in the virtual store, play with the latest iPhone, and attend Genius Bar workshops. Or, in a clothing store, consumers could try on garments in a dressing room before buying and having the physical version of the clothes shipped to their homes. Moreover, integrating cryptocurrencies in the metaverse means people can pay in a more secure and fast way for the goods.
People have been buying real estate for centuries as a way to invest their money and secure a place to live. Now, the metaverse is bringing a new option for investors—virtual land. Land is already being scooped up and sold in the metaverse, with prices going into the millions. Similar to the physical world, the main factor in determining price is the location. So land near an area with heavy foot traffic will come with a higher price tag, as well as land in desirable locations. Recently, one user even paid $450,000 to be Snoop Dogg’s neighbor in the metaverse.
Virtual concerts are not new, with games like Fortnite and Roblox already hosting concerts on a massive scale. However, the metaverse aims to take this one step further by creating virtual arenas and having fans attend the concerts alongside friends in 3-D form. Virtual reality increases immersion and adds a new dimension to the concert experience. Fans may also get to customize the show’s environment and location to fit their liking. For example, don’t like the Burning Man festival in the middle of a desert? Take it to the beach or even the mountains!
The pandemic has forced us to rethink the future of work, with hybrid and work-from-anywhere models becoming the norm. However, one common drawback of these models is the challenge of employee engagement since everyone is geographically dispersed. In the metaverse, though, work is once again immersive and collaborative. Employees choose where they work, how they work, and with whom they work.
Companies like Hyundai and Siemens have already started to utilize the concepts of the metaverse to hire employees. They replaced the historically stale interview process with an interactive, virtual-reality-based hiring experience.
With Mark Zuckerberg and Meta being at the forefront of the metaverse, social networking will undoubtedly experience a radical change in the virtual universe. The metaverse aims to replicate in-person socialization as much as possible. Endless customizations will allow users to select whomever they want to meet up with in whichever environment they choose. Therefore, physical distance separating individuals will become less of an issue. It also has the potential for traditionally marginalized communities to coexist comfortably, mingle, and be their authentic selves in a dedicated space.
Video games and virtual reality ultimately paved the way for the metaverse. Therefore, it is not surprising that gaming will be an integral component of the virtual world. With the metaverse, game immersion is taken to the next level. Players are transported into the environment instead of looking at a 2-D screen. Imagine the current virtual reality world with Oculus and Vive headsets but on a much larger level.
In the metaverse, people will travel the globe in seconds. Consumers can visit any place on their bucket list without the hassle of booking tickets, dealing with airports, sitting on a cramped plane for hours, etc. Ever wonder how Paris looks from the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunrise? Or visiting the Taj Mahal during a full moon? Look no further than the metaverse.
Education has already shifted virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the metaverse’s increased immersion and gamification enhance the learning process. Students will see things at work and interact with them as they learn. Interactivity and immersion in education are effective methods in having students assimilate concepts more hands-only. For example, aspiring surgeons may perform virtual mock surgeries – and architects may design spaces of their choice. The metaverse has all the bells and whistles to ensure better knowledge retention in students that leverage it for education.
Companies like Peloton and Apple are market leaders for at-home fitness regimens. VR-based fitness apps have recently started to gain traction, driving sales for VR headsets like Oculus Quest during the 2021 holiday season. By combining the fun, interactive, and gamified aspects of virtual reality with physical activity, working out may become more enjoyable and enticing to some individuals. Additionally, people can work out in the comfort of their homes instead of feeling intimidated by going to an in-person gym.
Advertisers will also reap the benefits of the metaverse, leveraging the power of virtual reality to reach consumers in new ways. Traditional methods will remain, including banner ads, regular in-app advertisements, and analytics-backed websites. However, fresher, more interactive ways will emerge, such as VR billboards, in-game sponsored content (akin to the recent Louis Vuitton x Fortnite collaboration), and virtual influencers. Furthermore, the metaverse will look to propel customer engagement further with evolving direct-to-consumer marketing that is more interactive, immersive, and engaging.
The metaverse has matured from a science fiction buzzword to an achievable reality. While some things being said about the metaverse appear too ambitious (and they very may well be), others are already being produced and created. The recent shift towards blockchain, cryptocurrency, and a decentralized, virtual universe has made the metaverse possible. The metaverse promises to recreate our physical world virtually while adding greater immersion, possibilities, and personalization.
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