As a relatively new concept, it’s not surprising that there are a number of myths surrounding the metaverse.
Many emerging technologies spawn myths that are only debunked when people truly get to grips with what they mean and how they work. The inventor of the Ethernet, for example, predicted that the internet would “catastrophically collapse” in 1996 - although he’s since gone on to literally eat his words (he blended a copy of the article he wrote and ate it on stage at the World Wide Web conference).
As a Web3 agency, we’re incredibly excited about the potential of the metaverse for businesses. So we want to ensure that everyone understands what it means, what it can do, and the opportunities it could offer for organisations - so in this blog, we’re aiming to uncover the truth behind the metaverse myths.
What is the metaverse?
Put simply, the metaverse is a shared space in which people can use a range of technologies - from AI and machine learning to social media and cryptocurrency - to engage and interact in a virtual world.
Metaverse myths debunked
Here are some of the most common metaverse myths (and why they’re wrong)...
1. The metaverse is just for fun
Some of the earliest incarnations of the metaverse were games like Fortnite and the online gaming platform Roblox, which enables players to create avatars and trade using virtual currency. But as the metaverse has expanded and evolved, it’s become much more than just a space for gamers and those looking to socialise with friends online.
Businesses are beginning to explore the potential of reaching new customers and connecting with existing customers through the metaverse, and there are many ways that they can do so. Big brands are leading the way - Nike has already developed a range of virtual trainers for the metaverse, for example, with the 20,000 ‘Cryptokick’ trainers they developed as NFTs selling for over $14 million in total. And over 60 fashion brands, from Selfridges to Dolce and Gabbana, took part in the first Metaverse Fashion Week earlier this year.
Recent research has also revealed that customers are interested in doing a range of different activities in the metaverse. When surveyed by McKinsey, 48% of consumers said they were interested in immersive shopping experiences, and 47% wanted to attend virtual telehealth appointments. Many businesses will also be interested to hear that 40% of consumers would like to receive live or automated customer support in the metaverse, while 35% would like to collaborate with others in a digital or virtual environment.
With businesses finding new ways to use the metaverse every day, it’s clear that the idea that the metaverse is just for fun is nothing more than a myth.
2. Only certain companies can benefit from the metaverse
As we’re still in the very early stages of the metaverse, early adopters are only scratching the surface when it comes to its potential. So while it may appear that the metaverse is only relevant to certain companies - it’s often assumed that it’s for B2C businesses or luxury brands, for example - this couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you’re in the restaurant industry, for instance, you may wonder what’s in it for your business. After all, what customer would be willing to purchase a meal they can’t eat? So you might be surprised to hear that McDonald’s has filed a trademark application for a virtual restaurant in the metaverse. They intend to enable customers to purchase food in their virtual restaurant and have the food they order in the metaverse physically delivered to their door in the real world.
McDonald’s move shows that any business can benefit from the metaverse - you may simply need to use your imagination to make it work for your company. If you find that product demos are an excellent way to convert prospects to customers, for example, could you move your product demos to the metaverse to provide an even more immersive experience for your audience? You could also use NFTs to build brand awareness and create a real sense of community around your brand - check out our blog on how businesses can use NFTs to find out more.
3. The metaverse is just a fad
As marketers, we know how important it is to ensure that our business stays ahead of the curve. But with every penny of marketing investment required to provide measurable returns, it’s understandable if you’re wary of entering the metaverse when some are saying that it’s simply a flash in the pan.
However, the data shows there’s no doubt that the metaverse is here to stay - and that there’s already real commercial value to be gained by companies that seize the many metaverse business opportunities now. On average, customers in the metaverse already spend around $219 annually on digital assets, and they expect their spending on metaverse-related digital assets to increase over the next five years.
Even customers who aren’t already spending time (and money) in the metaverse expect to do so in the future. On average, consumers expect to be spending around 4 hours a day in the metaverse within the next five years - a significant proportion of their everyday lives. And it’s not just the younger generations that are moving to the metaverse. While both Gen Z and millennials expect to spend five hours a day in the metaverse, Gen X still expects to spend around three and a half hours a day there, and even baby boomers believe they’ll be in the metaverse for almost two hours per day.
So if you’re aiming to be where your customers are, your business needs to embrace the metaverse now - otherwise, you could find your customers are going to your competitors.
4. Physical experiences will be replaced by the metaverse
While the metaverse is all about providing people with interactive digital experiences, it’s never going to completely replace physical experiences, products, or shops. Instead, you should think about how your business can use the metaverse to complement what you can provide in the real world.
When your customers receive your product, for example, you could provide them with virtual training in the metaverse to help them to get to grips with it more effectively. And when you’re holding an in-person event, you could also create a virtual event space to enable those who can’t make it in person to network in the metaverse.
By creating virtual experiences for your audiences alongside the physical interactions they have with your business, you can stay connected with them wherever they are. Memorable metaverse events and experiences should also help to create a great impression of your brand among your target audience and boost your customer experience.
5. It’s too early to get involved in the metaverse
Perhaps one of the most common metaverse myths that many businesses believe is that it’s just too soon to start interacting with customers and prospects in the metaverse. But if your business waits to embrace the new opportunities the metaverse offers to engage with your audience and delight your customers, you could find that your competitors get there before you and gain a competitive advantage.
Because when we compare the growth of the metaverse to the development of other technologies that are now mainstream, we can see that the metaverse is following a similar trajectory. Virtual reality (VR) may only have reached 20 percent penetration to date, but data shows that technologies like smartphones, tablets, and social media grew from 20 percent to 50 percent in just a few years.
With costs for metaverse technology falling - the average price of a VR headset fell from $500 in 2016 to $300 in 2021 - the metaverse is becoming more accessible for users. This, along with the increasing amount of content available on the metaverse, is driving customer demand. Tech companies are also investing heavily in the metaverse in order to level up user experience - Apple, for example, plans to launch its first VR headset this year.
Make your move into the metaverse
With investment and customer demand for the metaverse set to increase exponentially over the coming years, the time for your business to get involved in this new space is now.
Our team of metaverse marketing experts will work with you to help you to find the best way to start building your presence and reaching your audience in the metaverse. Get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can support you with many metaverse business opportunities.