You may have heard about the metaverse or Web3, but what do these concepts mean for your internet presence and how your audiences will interact online?
Virtual Reality Online
Unlike previous virtual reality technologies, which have focused on the video game industry and often involved individual companies creating proprietary consoles, metaverses utilize the internet to create online immersive experiences. The metaverse concept envisions digital environments in which users can interact through avatars to share text, audio, images, and other content. These electronic spaces could reflect real-world settings, like schools, doctor’s offices, or even dating, and could, in the near future, become extensions of actual reality. Metaverses can also be used for ecommerce, with users purchasing digital goods, services, and experiences.
Web3 (also known as Web 3.0 and the third generation of the internet) is the computing power that is needed to make these interconnected digital spaces possible. This process relies on blockchain technology. You’ve probably heard of blockchains, as they are systems of decentralized databases that have made bitcoin, NFTs, and other virtual currencies and goods possible. By using tokens, a form of currency that exists entirely online thanks to blockchains, consumers in metaverses can buy and/or sell any number of digital goods, from fashion for their avatars, to virtual concert tickets, and more.
What other digital goods and experiences can be created with blockchain? The sky’s the limit–or, more precisely, the servers are. We’ll need to see improvements in server capabilities if metaverses are to be widely available for large-scale, real-time consumer use.
Brands have the chance to create unique, realistic virtual settings that combine many facets of current marketing strategies. Powerful images, video, audio, and text will all continue to be important as we look to reach audiences in virtual reality. Different platforms will present unique user experiences and attract different demographics. Identifying the audience you want to reach will be a critical factor in determining how to utilize metaverses, as each platform and their users will be unique to each developer, with their own rules and functionalities.
Keep an eye on the early investors in Web3. Social media conglomerates such as Meta (which owns Facebook and Instagram) and video game developers such as Roblox and Epic Games (perhaps best known for Fortnite) have been at the forefront of investing in metaverse capabilities. Google and Microsoft have also expressed interest in developing metaverses. Continue to build your presence on these existing platforms, especially video games if applicable to your brand, and see how updates are unveiled by these developers.
With metaverses still in their nascent stages, only time will tell how developers will roll-out these platforms and then how the public will use them. As with previous advances to the internet, producers and brands cannot predict how users will interact with new features. It is likely that many of these features will feel like extensions of current online platforms, especially social media and gaming, so businesses may be able to map current strategies onto the earliest metaverses. In an ideal world, brands will be able to immediately sell goods and services, network with other professionals, and market to users all in one place. For now, we must wait to see what this new iteration of the internet has to offer.