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Mark Zuckerberg introduced the metaverse to the world, calling it the next frontier in technology. Except, the metaverse isn’t a physical frontier at all, and it isn’t new. According to Zuckerberg, it isn’t about a place but rather a way of life that combines the virtual with reality.
If that definition only made the metaverse more confusing, you aren’t alone asking, “What’s the metaverse, and why should I care?”
If the metaverse really is the future of technology and society, understanding it is crucial to stay on top of this emerging trend and incorporate it into your business and marketing. Doing so will help you position yourself above your competitors as a leader in your industry that advances with society instead of dragging behind innovations.
The metaverse is an immersive virtual experience. Society already lives its life split between the real world and a virtual world. In their virtual world, people network over social media, play extended reality games, and shop on ecommerce platforms.
The metaverse takes your current online activities and offers them in new ways. For example, instead of browsing shops through a website or connecting to your friends through a Facebook comment section, you would interact as an avatar in a 3D model of the internet, allowing for more personal online interactions.
The shift towards the metaverse has been a long time coming. Initially, the internet was a collection of text-based information. Then, technology started building the internet into an immersive experience as users added images, audio, and video. Transporting people as avatars into the internet experience is the natural next step of the internet.
Neal Stephenson is credited with first using the term “metaverse” in his 1992 novel, “Snow Crash.” The story describes a parallel life in virtual reality that people access through personal terminals.
The prefix meta- means to transcend reality. Therefore, the literal translation of “metaverse” is a universe that transcends reality. This definition accurately portrays the direction the metaverse is heading, which is to become a parallel virtual world.
Even though the metaverse is often associated with Mark Zuckerberg, he doesn’t own the metaverse, just like no one can own the internet. However, he became a significant player in the metaverse when he turned Facebook, the third most popular website in the world, into a metaverse company called Meta.
Many companies are also grabbing a piece of this virtual pie and contributing to a digital universe. As a result, the metaverse is expected to become an $800 billion market, making it one of today’s hottest investments.
Some of the most significant metaverse contributors include:
When you hear talk of the metaverse, you also hear a few other related tech terms. Here’s a look at some of the most relevant words and how they relate to the metaverse. Knowing the correct definition of each will help you fully understand how the metaverse functions and the purpose behind it.
Where does the metaverse fall on that scale? In other words, does the metaverse bring virtual interactions into our world, or will you be transported into a virtual world?
The following section will answer that question as we dive into the technology behind the metaverse.
Virtual realities like the metaverse already exist in a limited sense. You can see this concept in the gaming industry, like Minecraft and Fortnite. In these games, you control an avatar that can interact with other players and use a virtual economy to earn and trade currency for items.
However, the metaverse will operate on a much larger scale. It will not replace the internet, but rather it will build on it by allowing users to interact with the digital world using extended reality.
You will interact with the metaverse on most platforms by first creating an avatar. Then, you will control your avatar, which lets you interact with digital items and perform virtual tasks. For example, you can attend a virtual concert or shop in digital stores.
There are many parts of the metaverse where you don’t have to perform any specific tasks. Instead, you can enter a platform and move about to explore the virtual world with your avatar.
You can access this reality differently depending on which platform you use. One of the biggest names in technology for the metaverse is Oculus from Meta. The Meta Quest 2 is a headset that combines VR glasses, audio, and hand controllers for a fully immersive virtual experience.
Not all metaverse contributors require users to go all-in with technology. Many gaming companies allow players to access games on the metaverse using regular headsets and a computer or even just a smartphone. While a home computer and headset work with multiplayer games, you will not be able to access more significant areas of the metaverse where there is a high volume of users.
The uses of the metaverse are nearly endless, especially as new technology arrives and expands its functionality. However, you can summarize the primary ways consumers and businesses use the metaverse in these five categories:
This one should not come as a big surprise, considering Facebook’s Meta is one of the top players in the metaverse. Many developers consider social networking one of the foundational elements of the metaverse.
Before the metaverse, most of your online experiences were isolated. However, now you can meet others, interact at events, and socialize with people worldwide. There is a reason people gravitate towards multiplayer games and social media. People need interaction. Now the metaverse provides another way to connect even from the comfort of your own home.
The gaming industry used VR before half the population even heard about the metaverse. The metaverse continues to expand the gaming industry by adding other aspects to your experience like social networking, virtual currency, owning digital belongings, and even attending events like concerts from within your game.
The metaverse allows users to consume media in a new way. Instead of passively watching a video or event, your avatar can now participate in virtual events. The entertainment industry also benefits from this option as they will often require users to purchase tickets before attending a concert or other event.
Other forms of entertainment available within the metaverse include virtual amusement parks, virtual sports games, and virtual movie theaters.
The metaverse isn’t exclusively for fun and games. It also offers a platform for businesses to reach their customers or employees.
For instance, nearly 75% of employees expect to continue remote work. Offices can function with remote workers by holding virtual business meetings. While this idea already exists with platforms like Zoom, the future of the metaverse hints at an option where avatars can gather in a single room.
Customers can interact with businesses using the metaverse by viewing virtual items in a physical world. They can also purchase digital objects in a virtual world. The first idea is an extension of ecommerce that lets customers have more in-person experiences when choosing products, like seeing how furniture might look in your home using AR or viewing 3D models of products that let you zoom in and out on the item.
The second idea will grow as the metaverse expands. For example, with a VR shopping experience, you can purchase famous clothing brands, real estate, vehicles, and other items that remain in your virtual world for your avatar to use and enjoy.
The metaverse will also open new opportunities for marketers to advertise their businesses online and connect with new audiences.
The metaverse is still a vague concept that isn’t fully realized. Right now, it operates on multiple separate platforms owned by several big players in the VR industry.
For the metaverse to become what Mark Zuckerberg and other tech giants imagine it to be, there must be a universal world or cloud-based system. The system will unify your metaverse experience instead of playing on islands run by individual platforms.
While you can join the metaverse today as a user or to expand your social media marketing strategy, it is just a taste of what is to come. The metaverse Mark Zuckerberg imagines appears to be the closest contender for a parallel world that truly reflects our own. However, while parts are available to the public, he expects his metaverse to take five to ten years to fully develop.
You have great potential in this virtual world, even in its early stages, by opening virtual ecommerce shops, hosting virtual events, or selling digital items. You can also use social media influencers who already have a following on the metaverse to bring attention to your physical and virtual brand.
Contact us to create a social media marketing strategy out of this world, literally and virtually.