What are the real opportunities of the metaverse and more immersive digital environments, and more specifically for marketers, how will this change the way people shop, interact with brands and approaches to advertising?
That’s the subject of a new white paper from Analysis Group in collaboration with Meta, which aims to provide a realistic perspective on where things are going with metaverse change — which may or may not become a tangible and valuable reality for another decade. .
But that will come, according to Meta in any case, and it offers new opportunities.
First, the white paper attempts to define exactly what Metaverse is – an important one given the number of profitable companies that have emerged with their “Metaverse-ready” solutions.
According to the newspaper:
†One way of seeing the metaverse is as a series of interconnected digital spaces, including immersive XR experiences that combine digital and physical words, where individuals can move easily between different spaces and experiences and interact and collaborate with other people who don’t. to be. in the same physical space.
I mean, it looks pretty simple and in line with the broader definition of the metaverse experience, as we’ve shown in several Zuck and Co promotional mockups.
But the practicalities of this are also important: how do we get there and, more importantly, how far is the next connection route?
The answer on this front is that it will take time – and Analysis Group is paying close attention that this may never happen:
“It’s possible that, like many other previously ‘hyped’ technological innovations, the Metaverse may never materialize as is currently believed.”
But to become the platform of the future, it will need mass adoption, which means wider adoption of VR headsets, the deployment of AR goggles and other technologies.
“As with the Internet and other technologies, the shape and form of the metaverse will materialize slowly at first, and only after it reaches a critical mass of adoption will its full potential begin to take shape more concretely.”
So it’s not there yet, and it won’t be. So you don’t have to jump into your metaverse strategy, and you shouldn’t feel like jumping on the NFT train just yet.
It will take time, which means you have time, which, as Meta’s Nick Clegg also points out, also means that regulators have the time and space to put in new rules and frameworks for the evolving space.
†As has been the case during the development of the Internet, interoperable standards and protocols will be developed over time by different people and companies, and often they are drafted by institutions such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology based in the United States. or multi-party international organizations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force or the World Wide Web Consortium.†
In his writing, Clegg builds on the analysis group’s white paper by calling on governments to work together to develop a regulatory approach for the evolving space.
†An open, interconnected metaverse isn’t just the right thing for users — and something that involves both technical and political work on the part of industry and regulators — it’s also the kind of thing that the metaverse in parts of the world has yet to do. still believe in an open internet of the metaverses that have been 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 require some level of external oversight — because while Meta would build the metaverse for itself, want to own, he also knows from experience that he doesn’t want to be the one making the rules in the new space.
Acting now, Clegg says, is essential to ensure we are ready for the next shift. Because again, as described in the GA report, we are still developing the building blocks for the next phase.
“The way mobile technology has combined existing technologies such as phones, the Internet, cameras and MP3 players and evolved to change the way we use the Internet is reminiscent of the path the metaverse appears to be taking. Combining Existing Technologies such as phones, internet, cameras and MP3 players in one mobile device has fundamentally changed the way we connect to the internet by overcoming geographic limitations.Existing Metaverse designs have a similar flavor through existing technologies, such as AR/VR, video conferencing, multiplayer games and digital currencies, to combine and convert into something new.
This is important to note because while people are jumping on board with new trends like NFTs, looking to the future, the fact is that we don’t know what role these types of items will play in the transition from metavers to the future.
It’s also hard to draw anything definitive from the AG report on potential value — because, as he points out, he’s not in a position to speculate on the success of the metaverse, he’s only mapping its potential based on of past technological advances. But with that equation in mind, if the metaverse grew the same way mobile technology evolved, it could become a $3.01 trillion industry by 2031.
There are many factors to consider and many things to be done right. For example, the AG report notes that different platforms will have to work together for the metaverse to work.
“For example, a user must have an individual account to access a social media application such as Twitter or TikTok and an individual account to access a game console such as Xbox or PlayStation. But in the metaverse, a user would be enabled to seamlessly consume digital goods and services. Andrew Chow of Time Magazine supports this view, writing: “Instead of having separate Facebook and Twitter accounts where everything you post belongs to these companies, you can own your digital personality and all your digital ideas and resources wherever you go.” goes. . .” For example, a person may purchase a piece of clothing or a digital accessory on one platform and continue to “wear” it when visiting another platform, unlike this digital good whose use is limited to the platform from which the individual originally purchased it. ”
That would be an incredible breakthrough, and it is possible, but Meta is essentially asking regulators to put in place new rules and systems now to make their existence easier. Because the platforms themselves will have little incentive to integrate in this way unless they have to or the financial benefits are too great to ignore.
Meta seems to be focusing its push on the former, enacting new rules, which govern all metaverse partners, to avoid trade disputes or rule-making by particular platforms. Meta has been very critical of Apple’s restrictions on iOS apps, which is a similar issue he points to here – if the regulations aren’t introduced now as part of the metaverse, it will be harder to enforce rules once a system is in place. , and the accepted standards, is in place.
So essentially, the Metaverse is still a long way off, and there’s still a long way to go to make it the universal, interoperable VR alternative that Meta envisions.
In other words, don’t rush the metaverse just yet and waste your money on the latest trends. Evaluate them all as soon as they come in and consider them right for your business. But don’t assume that someone trying to sell you on the metaverse is already there and ready to go for brands.
You can read the full Analysis Group whitepaper here, and Nick Clegg’s lengthy Medium essay on metaverse shifting here.