How the Metaverse is Changing the Future by Creating a Virtual Reality
What is the Metaverse and Why does it matter?
The term Metaverse was first coined in science fiction. It is a combination of the prefix “meta”, which means beyond, and “universe”. It refers to shared virtual worlds where buildings, land, avatars and names can be bought and sold, often using cryptocurrency. In these environments, people can roam around with friends, buy goods and services, visit buildings, and attend events.
The concept surged in popularity during the lockdown as work-from-home policies pushed more people online for both business and pleasure. The term covers a wide variety of virtual realities, from workplace tools to games and community platforms. The Metaverse is the next mega-phase of the internet, a merging of the physical world with XR, AR and VR that is just beginning to revolutionize the way we interact, work and live.
Many of the new platforms are powered by blockchain technology, using cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), allowing a new kind of decentralised digital asset to be built, owned and monetised.
On his earnings call in late July, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg devoted significant time to expounding upon the Metaverse: He said, “It’s a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces. You can kind of think about this as an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at. We believe that this is going to be the successor to the mobile internet.”
Can you use Metaverse in Marketing?
Let us look at the opportunities that these online social spaces present for brands that want to reach the billions-strong gaming audience. The Metaverse has created a space for brands outside of gaming to make themselves a part of the metaverse unobtrusively. Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons was incredibly successful due to it providing a social space that allowed its players to share their creativity at a time they couldn’t do so in person. This opened the door to fashion and home brands to get involved as well.
Ikea Taiwan capitalized on the in-game furniture craze by recreating its catalog in-game, which linked Ikea-themed islands in the game itself to its own platform and store. KFC in the Philippines went one step further and offered real-world rewards for visiting its official island and spotting ‘the Colonel’, which was essentially an employee in custom garb made to look like the chicken brand’s mascot.
Gucci Beauty took advantage of the social aspects of the metaverse as well by teaming up with Animal Crossing influencers to create its own island. They brought in elements of its preexisting Gucci Guilty ad campaign and replicated it in the best possible way through the game’s assets.
The Role of Avatars in Building Immersive Worlds
Here’s how the Wall Street Journal describes it: “an extensive online world transcending individual tech platforms, where people exist in immersive, shared virtual spaces. through avatars, people would be able to try on items available in stores or attend concerts with friends, just as they would offline.”
“We believe that everyone’s favorite characters from books, movies, video games, comics, and toys will come alive and begin interacting with their fans. These characters will be joined by the avatars of celebrities, musicians, and athletes.” said Armando Kirwin, cofounder at Artie, the company that enables brands to create and share AI avatars. “Not only that, but banks, grocery stores, retailers, and other businesses will each want to have their own avatar too. If you combine all of these use cases, you get what we call “the avatar layer,” a layer of millions of avatars around the world that become increasingly useful, intelligent, and fun to interact with.”
Spatial Interfaces and Augmented Reality
A spatial interface is essentially an interface where elements inside of it are free to move within the space of the interface like in the real world. There are movies bodies and there are objects with force enacted upon them. Typically, we see this kind of experience in Gaming where there are characters that can move and there are objects surrounding them that create an environment where these characters thrive.
Augmented reality is an extremely visual and interactive method of presenting relevant digital information in the context of the physical environment, connecting employees and improving business outcomes. Industrial augmented reality offers an even better way to create and deliver easily consumable work instructions by overlaying digital content in real-world work environments.