A couple weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg stated that Facebook users will see the platform as less of a social networking site and more so a metaverse.
What is that? A metaverse?
The idea of a metaverse is not new. In fact, Zuckerberg himself claims it’s something he’s wanted to build since he was six years old and the reason he learned to code.
A metaverse is an immersive digital world and holistic virtual ecosystem. It’s essentially a virtual realm where one can exist within a society of others under a particular identity. For many, it’s a utopia. Life outside of his or her life where he or she can be a bit more anonymous, live more harmoniously, and experience something new. For others, it’s a dark, scary place full of hackers and an anti-social jail.
Regardless on your opinion of the concept, many of us have already existed in a metaverse-like ecosystem this past year. Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Slack have just about crossed over from communication tools to metaverse-esque platforms. When we open Teams, Outlook, and the rest of Office365’s tools we are existing in a digital society where we engage with others and almost step out of the real world into this digital one. It’s exactly how Zuckerberg sees the future of Facebook – less a social network, more a metaverse.
What’s the point? The point is metaverses are coming. It’s almost so common and so close, they’ll come without us recognizing it. And that is exactly what the gaming world has proven.
There’s no question esports and gaming has grown exponentially year-over-year, month-over-month, but what’s most impressive about gaming is its ability to influence other industries.
The gaming community has redefined how we play. The typical barriers to compete or be an athlete have been foreseeably changed. The technological advancement of sport didn’t always mean harder competition, it also meant smarter.
The gaming community changed the way we consume entertainment. The requirement for professional TV broadcast level cameras and equipment is a thing of the past. As we have moved from radios to televisions, esports opened the world’s eyes to the idea of streaming.
Maybe most importantly, the gaming community has altered the way we interact with each other in a way that could shape the future of all human connections.
Thanks to the gaming world, platforms like Discord and Twitch are more commonly known across entertainment today. It’s the Gen-Z’s desire for micro-site, campfire communities away from the mainstream attention that gives new platforms life, but it’s these platform’s product that allows users to interact unlike traditional social networks. In a sense, these digital campfire platforms are bordering a metaverse. Users escape the eye of the mainstream world and live an alter-ego to interact with friends through a multitude of digital services.
Fortnite is a great example of a digital product turning into a metaverse. What was once an online-based realm video game is now so much more. There are custom worlds where fans can enter through private codes and escape the central entrance of Fortnite’s interface (See SPORTFIVE x TCL’s Display Greatness Challenge as an example). The game has held multiple concerts for players to trot their avatars over to the stage and enjoy the experience rather complete the game objectives.
The power of the metaverse goes far beyond attracting many users. It sends a signal to brands on where to invest money. As users live out their alter egos in the metaverse, they want to be seen a certain way and take part in other-worldly experiences.
One of the world’s most recognizable brands, Gucci, integrated its products into Roblox and sold virtual items to players for their in-game avatars. In The Gucci Garden, Roblox players were able to purchase several virtual Gucci products ranging in price from free to the equivalent of approximately $10. There was such a buzz to buy these exclusive add-ons that one of the “purses” re-sold in the game’s marketplace for more money than the purse costs in real-life ($3,400).
This is a taste of what a metaverse is, and it’s so innate to gaming that that community holds the keys to the future of our social experience.
As we hear more and more about the metaverse and its potential forthcoming, keep an eye on all things gaming to learn more. Metaverses will be here well before Facebook becomes one.
Want to learn more about the metaverse? Check out this article from our German colleagues.
To stay ahead and engaged with the next generations of fans, connect with SPORTFIVE and learn more about our digital offerings at firstname.lastname@example.org