What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is coming and it will replace the Internet as we know it. But just what is the metaverse? It will replace the two dimensional, search based internet with a fully immersive 3-D world that mirrors the world we live in and provide a space where we can shop, attend concerts, go to school, meet friends and clients and be whoever we want!
It is also a space that is rich for advertisers to promote products and brands.
This shouldn’t sound too far-fetched, it is a space children already know about and inhabit. Brands such as Fortnite and Minecraft already provide vast environments to play and interact. Last year, Travis Scott held concert within the Fortnight game that attracted no less than 27 million viewers ! No more sticky dance floors and ‘overly enthusiastic’ door staff in the metaverse!
Fortnite creator Tim Sweeney isn’t alone in creating a metaverse. Silicon Valley is currently in a race to build the next version of the Internet. Facebook have already announced that moving forward the as a company, now branded Meta, their main focus will be the opportunities created by the metaverse. Facebook Horizon is a user generated, virtual reality world is also competing for space. Whilst Fortnite exists on a two-dimensional screen, Facebook Horizon has created a fully immersive virtual reality world where participants can meet, be creative, socialise, play games and work together.
Whilst the Internet is based on coding and software, the metaverse is based on 3-D worlds created by engines from brands such as Unreal Engine and Unity. Originally these engines created landscapes for virtual worlds in games but their platforms are increasingly being used outside of this, such as in Hollywood for creating super realistic special effect scenes. Think of Unity and Unreal as the metaverse equivalents of Android and iOS.
So what does this metaverse mean for us
Well, no more keyboards and searching as we will utilise virtual assistants to do the searching for us. The metaverse will provide fully immersive spaces that we can explore without the need to search the internet as we currently do. Instead of individual apps we will just travel from world to world in order to access and interact with it.
So instead of travelling to see the pyramids in Egypt we could visit and explore them through the meta verse. Obviously this gives advertisers an incredible opportunity to showcase products and brands from particular countries within the space. International business meetings will be as simple as popping on your VR glasses!
It’s hard to believe but in the next 10 years or so, the Internet and mobile phones will be considered very much a thing of the past in the same way as technology such as pagers and fax machines are today.
The advance of technology is allowing this change to happen at pace. With the advent and rollout of 5G we can now access our phones at 100 times the speed that we previously could with 4G. This makes accessing the metaverse much easier and helps create a seamless link between the world we occupy and the metaverse!
So how do we access the metaverse?
We’ve all seen these huge virtual reality goggles that double the size of our heads! The big brands such as Google and Apple are already working on much smaller VR headsets that are much closer in size and shape to spectacles. These glasses will completely replace the mobile phones we have today and create an almost immediate portal from our world to the metaverse.
The Internet as we know it may currently fit on a single book on a shelf in the library in the metaverse or will be projected on a virtual cinema screen as we walk through this new immersive world!
How will the metaverse change business?
The opportunities for our world and FMCG is immense. Imagine replacing online shopping with fully immersive supermarket environments that you can explore and interact with the products. With a single click or nod of the head products will be packed and sent to you in the real world. No more waiting for shop assistant to scurry out to the back to see if they have the trainers in your size. We can simply try them on in an environment of our choosing with whatever clothing takes our fancy!
The metaverse could also completely transform the design studio workspace. We already saw with lockdown the challenges for teams working in isolation. Teams work and function best when they work together. The metaverse will provide environments where teams can work collaboratively popping in and out of meetings with clients and colleagues alike. Presenting documents, interacting with physical objects collaboratively and in real time.
With the removal of real-world interaction it also provides an opportunity for global commerce, industry and business to continue as normal in the eventuality of a global pandemic.
Crypto currencies will provide the basis for all financial transactions. These crypto currencies is already utilise blockchain chain technology, something that will also power the metaverse.
Whether this provides a fantastic opportunity or dystopian nightmare is ultimately up for debate. It is undoubtedly an exciting new platform but it needs careful policing to ensure that standards are upheld in these new worlds.