Written by Mirna, Ljubljana, 2023
What happened to the Metaverse? Does it still hold the potential of a shared virtual space for immersive gameplay, revenue growth, and collaboration in the gaming industry?
The metaverse will be built by everyone, with creative ideas and practical applications being developed every day by all sorts of imaginative people. - Meta Platforms Inc.
In October 2021, Meta (formerly Facebook) announced plans to create the Metaverse. After that, expectations about the Metaverse have been high, just until they let the fans down with poor strategy and early poor releases. Could gaming have the key to resolving the issues with the metaverse proxies?
Metaverse didn’t start with Facebook, tho. The term is known since 1992 from the science fiction novel Snow Crash. Because of the growing demand for immersion, the development of the metaverse is frequently associated with improvements in virtual reality technology. And most recently, web3 sparked interest in metaverse development, as a plan for a more decentralized version of the internet.
The Metaverse is a way to experience and interact with digital content in a more immersive way than traditional social media. This virtual world allows users to interact with each other and digital objects. It can potentially revolutionize industries such as gaming, entertainment, and e-commerce.
Ever since Meta’s announcement, the popularity of the metaverse has been snowballing. Grandview Research states that it is expected to reach a global market size of $936.57 billion by 2030. The growth is predicted to be caused by the metaverse's use in a variety of industries, including gaming, media and entertainment, eCommerce and retail, education, manufacturing, architecture, engineering, and more.
In the 2023 Digital Media Trends Report, Delloite found out that almost 50 % of Gen Z gamers discover new music while playing videogames, 45 % of them also wish more game experiences would be made based on their favorite movies, and are keen to play a game after being influenced to play it on TV. So, can gaming support the metaverse without getting in its way?
At the moment gaming industry is focusing on immersive gameplay. This means that video games take players to a different world and employ special effects to help them feel more like the character they're controlling. This is accomplished by combining a smooth game flow with fully realized stories and incredibly realistic graphics. The ability of the Metaverse would now make gaming a new source of entertainment, and revenue and change the entire focus.
Before we jump into why the Metaverse could change the gaming industry, let’s understand how gaming works without it. Players have long enjoyed multiplayer games, competing in tournaments, or making in-game purchases for their gameplay or character-building.
With the ability to tokenize in-game items and sell them for cryptocurrency, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies have become an exciting possibility for gamers. Depending on the game's rules, players can sell their assets or hold onto them for prizes. Fans of real money gaming and cryptocurrencies have embraced NFT games worldwide. These games have grown in popularity because of their potential for big returns, fantastic imagery, and accurate depictions of real-world objects. In the Metaverse, gamers can easily move their virtual possessions between spaces because of the possibility of interoperation on these platforms.
According to public data from Steam 2022, Oculus headset users represent approximately 45 % of all worldwide virtual reality device users. Even though VR headset sales are in green, keeping retention of users is the challenge in the VR gaming industry.
“We need to be better at growth and retention and resurrection,” ~ Mark Rabkin, Meta’s vice president for VR, 2023
So how does one keep up to date and create engaging projects in the modern gaming industry?
If you’re thinking about starting a fresh Metaverse project, consider new possibilities for making revenue in the Metaverse. Some of them are:
By 2040, about half of business and technology leaders expect the metaverse to be fully operational and provide immersive virtual experiences. The opposing viewpoint asserts that the metaverse will never fully manifest. What is your opinion on this?
As VR equipment (headset, glasses, hand motion trackers, etc) seems to be one of the most important downsides of why the Metaverse can’t reach just anyone yet - Google thinks ahead. Remember the Google Starline project, announced in 2021. With Starline, users could connect to the virtual world by a 3D holographic video, created by multi-dimensional lighting fields powered by computer vision and machine learning. This way users won’t have to use any additional equipment anymore and the experience would be seen as more realistic. Rumor has it that an official market launch could already happen jointly with Project Iris mixed reality headset in 2024.
You know you're on the right track when all the big players join in. According to a recent report by CNBC, Apple's upcoming virtual reality headset will reportedly run hundreds of thousands of iPad apps. The headset is anticipated to launch at Apple’s June WWDC event and will reportedly cost around $3,000. The device will feature cutting-edge technology, including eye-tracking and high-resolution screens. Apple packed the VR headset with gaming, fitness, and e-reader features.
The VR market may be completely changed by Apple's move, which might also introduce the technology to more people. But not just VR - AR Insider projects that the market for mobile augmented reality (AR) devices is predicted to expand by more than 23% by 2024.
Working in the metaverse may become a reality much sooner than we expect.
"I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids – which I call the "Hollywood Squares model," although I know that probably dates me – to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars.” ~ Bill Gates, 2021
At Shape, we tried to include meetings in the Metaverse in our workflow. Our team scheduled weekly meetings in Spatial, as it makes it easier to get beyond the difficulties that attendees of online meetings must deal with - such as lagging video, tho we had some audio difficulties. We enjoyed it so much, we made a video memoir of our latest meeting and you can check it out on Linkedin.
Shape team at the meta-meeting, presenting plans for 2023 Q1
Many big companies also discovered that it's important to occasionally roll out new internal challenges and online or offline benefits to boost employee motivation. It comes useful in hiring, onboarding new hires, employee training, learning, boosting motivation, and team building. For example, Google gamified the way employees report their business trip expenses. If an employee's travel budget wasn't completely used, they will receive the balance in their next paycheck. All they have to do is fill in a (now more entertaining) report.
Is the Metaverse already cutting-edge technology? We say, not just there yet, it is yet to find a real-world use case that will skyrocket it as chatGPT did for AI or NTF for crypto.
In conclusion, the metaverse represents a vast and rapidly expanding landscape of opportunities for gamers, innovators, and businesses alike. By embracing the metaverse, individuals and businesses can access new markets, innovate, and create immersive user experiences.
Remember - the next best thing usually comes from the garage & not the current market leaders. The metaverse is waiting for you, whether you're an innovator looking for uncharted territory or a gamer trying to level up your experience.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for a chat about challenges and opportunities in monetizing the Metaverse for creators and investors. We’re already looking forward to new Meta-projects!