This blog talks about how we, at Metamaxx, think of the Metaverse and why we’re here.
The Metaverse Mystery
Disruptions caused by constantly evolving technology and product ecosystems are spawning opportunities never imagined before. The arrival of Web 3.0 adds new dimensions to what we can conceptualize and create, taking our digital world beyond what was considered possible before. Over 2.62 million searches were performed for the word ‘Metaverse’ in October 2021[i]. Facebook rebranded itself to Meta, further drawing attention to a future that we’d mostly seen in Sci-Fi works like “Snow Crash” and “Ready Player One”. This has left people with questions that go beyond the rational mindset.
The Metaverse is more than the one-game depiction in Ready Player One
What is the Metaverse? What can you do there? When will it arrive? Who is going to own it?
Clearing up the fog around the Metaverse mystery is critical to understanding what lies ahead for brand storytelling and consumer engagement in this brave new world.
Defining the Metaverse
Many people have attempted to define the Metaverse, but it’s difficult to find a definition that encompasses all the little nuances. This one by venture capitalist and writer Matthew Ball may be a mouthful, but it comes close:
“The Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”
Boiling it down to a simpler form, the Metaverse could be described as a massive collaborative and interoperable real-time platform consisting of interconnected virtual worlds that enable people to work, transact, create, play, and socialize using virtual profiles. These decentralized, interconnected virtual worlds will feature fully functioning economies where people can do almost anything they can do in the physical world. To do this securely and with authenticity, Metaverse transactions will be done through blockchain technology, which is virtually impossible to plagiarize, as there is always an end-to-end record of all transactions for transparency.
The Metaverse of Today
Truth be told, we’ve still got a way to go before the Metaverse portrayed in sci-fi works can be actualized, but that time is almost here. Currently, the Metaverse behaves more like a guiding principle for building the next version of the internet — a shared virtual universe that is immersive, persistent, and available to everyone. And just like the internet, some tech giants may acquire a large market share of the Metaverse, but no single company can own it entirely.
This doesn’t mean we sit on the sidelines and wait for the Metaverse to evolve more. On the contrary, getting a head start in this new world will give brands long-term advantages and help them have an organic cultural cachet in the future. As consumers continue to spend more time and money in virtual worlds, brands need to figure out how they can go in there with them.
The Role of NFTs
While the full-fledged Metaverse is still years away, it rests on the foundation that’s being built today. One of the key components that the Metaverse economy will feature is NFTs.
NFT are non-fungible tokens and are used to represent ownership of a unique item. Any file, including image, audio, video, and more, can be tokenized and stored on the blockchain and no one can alter the record of ownership or simply copy/paste a duplicate NFT into existence. Brand adoption of NFTs will give businesses a new avenue to expand their cultural standing and secure their presence in the Metaverse of the future.
Although the NFT phenomenon has sent the world into a frenzy, it’s important to demystify the hype to see the real potential that NFTs present for brands. Many brands are already leveraging NFTs to build branded collectibles and are distributing them through immersive platforms like video games to deliver engaging and rewarding brand experiences to people, thereby building fan clubs and communities based on a common brand- centered theme. In August 2021, Burberry launched a series of in-game NFTs including characters and accessories in partnership with Mythical Games, the creators of Blankos Block Party. Some of these NFTs sold out within 30 seconds and are now selling for over $1,000 on the game’s marketplace.[ii]
Only 750 units of Sharky B—the Burberry-branded NFT character — were released in Blankos Block Party
Art as NFT has gained wide popularity and having one is somewhat of a status symbol today. Some of these NFTs are being used as avatars and membership tickets to online social clubs that are not only highly exclusive but also culturally significant. Since their first launch in April 2021, the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection has taken the internet by storm and many celebrities including Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Fallon, Neymar Jr., Justin Bieber and more now proudly flaunt their BAYC collectibles.
Snoop Dogg owns a full set of BAYC NFTs: a Bored Ape, an M1 and an M2 Mutant, and their correspondent Bored Ape Kennel Club NFT.
How much popularity an NFT collection gets depends on its perceived social value as determined by the niche, au courant communities that rally around it. A clear understanding of where their brand is positioned in the cultural dialogue empowers organizations with the right foundation to enable NFT’s to work in their favor.