Metaverse: A world of opportunities for Entrepreneurs
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a digital world in which everyday experiences such as working, socialising, and gaming occur. Whereas the present internet experience is two-dimensional, meaning you browse and scroll through it on a screen, the Metaverse is 3D. You’ll be walking through it via connected headsets or glasses.
Why does it matter?
The Metaverse is bound to create countless opportunities for entrepreneurs, which we can summarise in three key areas. Firstly, digital working environments where users can collaborate. Secondly, virtual reality worlds that will revolutionise the way brands interact with consumers. Thirdly, retail opportunities involving virtual experiences, products and services to generate new revenue streams for entrepreneurs.
The world of work is possibly where the Metaverse will have the most significant impact. Building on remote work trends stemming from the pandemic, providing the in-person contact and the spontaneity it affords. Virtual work currently comes at the cost of easy reading of body language or the spontaneous sharing of ideas when walking by a colleague. However, in the Metaverse, we can join team members to collaborate in virtual workspaces as 3D avatars in a way that far more closely feels like the real world. This will be a particularly revolutionary feature in fields such as healthcare, architecture, construction where being able to engage with ideas and problems visually using 3D models is essential. In the Metaverse, anything can be 3D-modeled, allowing more precise assessment, design, and decision making with fewer time constraints and financial costs. The Metaverse interface offers unique solutions for the medical sector.
The Metaverse will allow brands to connect with consumers on a whole new level by taking ownership of digital assets and accessing community exclusive perks. By entering the virtual world, users will attend virtual stores or see digital ads. To this point, Facebook recently filed several patents that cover tracking users’ facial expressions and body poses. This could be an extremely valuable tool to understand what ads and products work best. For example, if a user’s eyes linger over an image, this may indicate they like it. This data would be matched with new advertising opportunities ranging from sponsoring the appearance of an object in a virtual store to large events. Entrepreneurs would use this information to target their ads and get better results than they currently do with standard web solutions. In-game advertising isn’t an entirely new concept. On Fortnite, players can equip luxury clothing from brands like Balenciaga or use the complete kit of their favourite NFL team. These skins instantly give each brand visibility to Fortnite’s 350 million+ user base.
Additionally, many NFT projects are providing exclusive perks to their holders to develop a strong sense of community and brand awareness. A notable example is the Bored Ape Yacht Club who managed to secure a private concert at its ApeFest event with Snoop Dogg and Eminem exclusively for its NFT holders. Entrepreneurs could similarly issue their own limited NFTs and grant holders exclusive access to certain events or content to solidify the relationship between the brand and the consumer.
The Metaverse will accelerate the trend of purchasing products remotely while also enabling a more interactive in-store experience. Users could enter the virtual space and see products as if they were in an actual store. Entrepreneurs could set up their own flagship stores or boost their revenues by offering unique items that users can collect. Last year, Nike acquired RTFKT, a digital design studio that produces sneakers for the virtual environment and opened the NikeVirtualStudio, a new division focused solely on creating virtual goods. Virtual retail has already seen some high value deals with a virtual Gucci handbag selling within Roblox for $4,115 and a Dolce & Gabbana NFT collection selling for nearly $5.7 million. However, this trend could lead to a rise in litigation as big brands try to protect their intellectual property in the Metaverse. For example, Hermès recently filed an infringement claim in the US against a third party offering digital assets branded as “METABIRKINS”, showing digital representations of the famous Birkin bag.
What can we expect?
Entrepreneurs will need to consider what area of the Metaverse to focus on. Those looking to grow their brands and access new revenue streams will likely focus on retail opportunities; meanwhile, entrepreneurs in professional sectors will be keen to capitalise on the work possibilities, and others may try to establish control over multiple sectors or even offer Metaverse-as-a-service by creating Metaverse platforms for other businesses to operate in. The Metaverse presents countless opportunities for entrepreneurs, and having a comprehensive Metaverse strategy will likely become as common as it is now to have a social media strategy.