Want to know what’s next for the gaming industry? Join gaming leaders to discuss emerging areas of the industry at GamesBeat Summit Next this October. Learn more.
If the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, how do you take that step when you’re on a virtual journey? In a recent conversation, I was asked, “How does someone move in the metaverse? do they float? do they glide? Do you walk or run or is it more like surfing?”
The questions revealed both a genuine curiosity and a genuine lack of understanding shared by most people who are unsure what to make of this multi-universal, immersive experience that has garnered as much interest as it has corporate and individual investments has bets on the metaverse is the future.
Why are Nike and Adidas designing shoes for this virtual move? Why is Coca-Cola creating a “pixel-flavored” drink? Why are offices, classrooms, gyms, concert halls, sports arenas and all other entertainment and educational centers moving to the Metaverse? And above all: how does a company of any size and industry prepare for the first steps of its virtual journey?
For companies attempting to enter the Metaverse, a series of actions must be taken that mirror many of the same actions a company would take if entering a new market in the physical world. From defining and researching the market, analyzing and assessing the opportunities and threats, to drafting a market entry plan and finally allocating and freeing up the necessary resources, both capital and organizational skills.
If a company were interested in opening a new brick-and-mortar location in the real world, the company would collect data across different locations, study the consumer population in each location, and study the possibility of further development by other companies in the same spots. The same process of goal evaluation and comparison exists in the metaverse.
Once an ideal position has been identified and selected, a company should develop a market entry plan that considers the short- and long-term risks, threats, and opportunities. Once this business strategy is organized, use this analysis to help design and develop the virtual space and experience.
To encourage executives, C-suite members, and valued stakeholders to expand into the metaverse, such due diligence must also include considerations unique to the complexities and ever-changing trends affecting participation and drive value in the metaverse.
To understand how the process of entering the metaverse differs from entering new markets in the real world, let’s look at the qualities and characteristics that create such distinctions and why they are important to corporate leadership and valued stakeholders.
The volatility of virtual investments
When a company is determining how to enter a market in the real world, geographic, demographic, and consumer behavior data drive the decision-making process. In virtual space, the information needed to draw such conclusions is relatively small.
Although the data about the virtual platforms is readily available, companies should view their virtual space as a high volatility investment. Many companies looking to acquire real estate or land in the Metaverse may wish to turn to virtual real estate agents to secure the most desirable locations and minimize their company’s risk.
Not only does this professional advice and support provide greater certainty in speculating, but additional consideration of use, design and experience offered prior to investing will reduce concerns and increase opportunity.
Where are they?
Virtual planets and lots of virtual land are available for purchase on virtual world platforms like Decentraland, Sandbox, and others, ranging in price from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, and in the most bizarre cases, millions. These parcels are sold as blockchain-backed NFTs and, once purchased, are developed, leased, or simply held in the hope that the land or property will appreciate in value. If you’re a company making this virtual investment, appreciation shouldn’t be the priority.
The number one priority for building brands in these virtual spaces is discoverability. Where are they? How are you found by consumers? This output reflects that of the real world. To overcome this challenge, one approach is to adopt a strategy that focuses on the accumulation of multiple parcel lots to facilitate localization and provide greater options in the creative design and development process.
These “districts” or “estates”, the vocabulary changes depending on the platform, will be easier for users to find on the virtual map. Just like the location of big brands in malls, the value of location lies in both size and proximity to additional audience-developing brands or virtual experiences.
If the virtual world experiment is successful, it is because of the superior immersiveness. Concerts, films, sporting events, and consumer experiences must offer interactivity and holistic engagement that make the real world seem dull and hopeless by comparison. While entertainment companies will more easily master the Metaverse experience presented to audiences, brands and businesses in the vast majority of other industries will likely struggle to design and develop the level of immersion required to be effective.
Healthcare, education and financial services could all benefit from virtual real estate and offerings – medical professionals see patients and patients build communities of support, classrooms not limited to textbooks but bring subjects to life to increase curiosity, and stock markets with available real-time multi-dimensional metrics that make Bloomberg terminals look outdated.
These virtual theme parks of consumption and participation enable brand reinvention, provide the opportunity for new revenue streams, and are obviously aimed at younger audiences who may not have seen or interacted with these brands in the real world.
How long before Progressive or Geico offer a virtual insurance policy to protect against car accidents in the metaverse? Can Bank of America or Wells Fargo educate customers about financial responsibility more easily through an interactive statement in a virtual bank? When will physical therapy include Metaverse meetings with specialists who can monitor the patient’s progress?
Businesses and organizations that currently see no future in this Web3 world will eventually make such a pivot, only to see the opportunities that have existed all along. To effectively get the best results from these ventures, winners will differentiate themselves from the rest by being disciplined digital investors, focusing on location and ease of visibility, and fully committed to superior immersion.
Wyatt Ferber has spent the last 10 years building digital communities and platforms at CBS, FOX and others.
data decision maker
Welcome to the VentureBeat community!
DataDecisionMakers is the place where experts, including technical staff, working with data can share data-related insights and innovations.
If you want to read about innovative ideas and up-to-date information, best practices and the future of data and data technology, visit us at DataDecisionMakers.
You might even consider contributing an article of your own!
Read more from DataDecisionMakers