Ever since Facebook changed its name to Meta, the world has started paying close attention to the metaverse, the tech company’s new main focus. We’ve seen a lot of articles discussing what the metaverse is, how it would work and whether it’s actually the future of the internet or not.
It makes sense, then, that business owners are starting to wonder if they should be developing a metaverse strategy for their companies. Given how many people are touting the metaverse as the next revolution, there are plenty of reasons to start considering the metaverse as a new business opportunity.
With companies as varied as Microsoft, Google, Nike and Epic Games already making their moves around the metaverse, it’s becoming clear that acting now might be a huge differentiator for businesses across multiple industries. Here are some things you should keep in mind when considering business opportunities in the metaverse.
A Necessary Clarification
Before moving into these considerations, it’s important to make a distinction between the metaverse that many are highly publicizing and the one that exists today. The former is the one you’re probably thinking about: a digital and immersive 3-D world that you can freely explore, interacting with other avatars, visiting zones and rooms and “playing” with the world around you.
Unfortunately, we’re still far from such a unique, connected experience. As it stands today, the metaverse is more a notion that’s guiding the creation of multiple virtual worlds that aren’t interconnected with one another. Each world so far has its own avatars, access methods, memberships, and so on. The final objective of the metaverse is to connect all those virtual worlds and combine them into one, a logistical and operational nightmare that isn’t anywhere close to being accomplished right now.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth looking into business opportunities in the current metaverse(s). Just look at what Fortnite is doing with its virtual world to understand the possibilities awaiting your company.
What To Consider About The Metaverse
It’s highly likely that the ultimate shape of the metaverse will be determined by big enterprises that are already leading the charge. I’m talking about companies like Meta itself or Microsoft that have the necessary resources to develop the underlying infrastructure and orchestrate the integration of diverse virtual worlds. (There are other, independent efforts that will surely add to these developments, such as Decentraland.)
Companies that aren’t already industry giants should instead be thinking about ways to incorporate their brands into these virtual worlds. And before you argue that you have nothing to sell virtually, let me say that the metaverse is more than just commerce. It also encompasses disparate areas like personal communications, gaming, education, financial services and even art.
This doesn’t mean you should be inserting your company into the metaverse right now (unless it makes sense for your business plan). But you should be considering the future and the business opportunities it will bring. That’s why you should begin looking into the following:
• Your target audience and its potential relationship with the metaverse
There are two things to consider here. On the one hand, your target audience will define how quickly you’ll need to enter the metaverse. It’s one thing if your audience is seniors or supply companies and a very different one if your audience is mainly young people or tech companies.
On the other hand, your audience can point to the potential business opportunities waiting for you in the metaverse. For instance, young people with gaming interests are surely already familiar with NFTs and cryptocurrencies, which may be a chance for you to start selling digital goods within the existing metaverses.
• Your competition and their metaverse strategy
This is as basic as it gets: If your competitors are making moves related to the metaverse, you can’t afford to lag behind. This doesn’t mean imitate everything they do, but you should pay attention to their experiences and how you can build upon their strategies, especially their mistakes.
• The metaverse as a whole
Even if your competitors aren’t doing anything metaverse-related, you should stay abreast of developments. You never know when a new feature, partnership or infrastructure expansion can provide you with a way into this new world. Staying on top of the metaverse is also a good way to catch favorable emerging trends and ride them before anyone else.
• The metaverse’s limitations
One thing about the metaverse you should always keep in mind is what it can’t offer you. Given how new these virtual worlds are, anyone entering the metaverse exposes themselves to risks and uncertainties. This means you’re bound to fail here and there as you immerse yourself in the metaverse, so it’s important to understand and accept that fact.
While it’s true that the metaverse isn’t anywhere near what many are publicly advertising, its current iteration opens up room for experimentation on many levels, including branding, storytelling and even e-commerce. Neglecting the metaverse may not harm you right away, but it will play a significant role in the future. That’s why you should be getting excited about the metaverse: not because it will revolutionize your business immediately, but because it can offer you new revenue streams or storytelling opportunities to push your horizons.