Global metaverse revenue opportunities on things like live events, ads, social commerce and hardware are projected to reach over $1 trillion according to JPMorgan, and $800 billion according to Bloomberg. The market for game makers and gaming hardware alone may surpass $400 billion.
Gaming and entertainment brands, as well as some fashion labels, are paving the way for brands seeking to navigate the metaverse. Meanwhile, Google contributed almost $40 million in a private equity fund for all metaverse projects and Walmart has filed dozens of metaverse trademark requests since December 2021. And big brands like Nike, Meta and Disney are creating their own metaverse business units.
There are already 1 billion active augmented reality (AR) users worldwide, and that number will almost double by 2024. What’s more, 56 percent of influencers say they currently participate in the metaverse. As marketers continue to break through the noise facing consumers 24/7, understanding and embracing new immersive technologies can be an effective way to engage and delight audiences.
According to Harvard Business Review, brands seeking to enter the metaverse should first determine their place in it and balance the risks and rewards of entering the digital landscape. Next, they should determine whether and how much of their target audience spends time in the metaverse and adjust their approach accordingly. The metaverse may be the next iteration of how we use the internet to connect, communicate and transact so it’s also important for brands to stay in a “test-and-learn” mode and remain agile as they venture into this uncharted territory.
Ahead, see a round-up of some of the brands that have embraced the metaverse so far—or plan to in the near future—and how they’ve navigated some of the considerations raised by HBR.
Autodesk developers have recently begun using its software to design and build virtual worlds for entertainment and gaming. It now features several products for the purpose of rendering 3D animation, constructing virtual buildings and creating within virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) landscapes. Revenues from this segment alone were up 10 percent year-over-year (YOY) in Q3 2021, further pointing to the possibility that Autodesk may soon be the main contender for metaverse developers.
In the Italian fashion brand’s metaverse retail store, digital shoppers won’t buy clothes but instead participate in gaming experiences with the opportunity to accumulate QR codes, which can then be used to make purchases in Benetton’s physical stores. The brand’s Milan flagship was transformed into a mixed-media experience to tease the look and feel of the store in the metaverse, according to WWD.
TikTok’s parent company is in the beta-testing phase of its own metaverse called Party Island. Though ByteDance refuses to label it a “metaverse,” conceptually Party Island is a metaverse. Users can create personal avatars, chat in a virtual world and schedule real-world events. The company spent $1.4 billion to acquire VR headset maker Pico—solidifying its entry into the metaverse space along with a number of other investments within the metaverse supply chain.
Google has started investing in the metaverse with a $39.5 million contribution to a private equity fund for all metaverse projects. Despite the failure of its AR glasses in 2014, chief executive officer Sundar Pichai has since frequently addressed the company’s ongoing interest in AR. It may even make services like YouTube and Maps available in the virtual landscape.
Gucci and Roblox
In May 2021, Gucci debuted the Gucci Garden, a two-week art installation aimed at raising brand awareness among young customers, inside Roblox. Upon entering the garden, visitors could view, try on and buy digital Gucci products to dress their blank, genderless avatars before exploring the garden’s themed rooms.
JPMorgan Chase and Decentraland
The largest bank in the US and seventh-largest in the world has recently made moves to modernize its brand by designing and launching a lounge in the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland called The Onyx. The opening coincided with the release of its report on growth opportunities within the metaverse, which found that the metaverse’s market opportunity will reach over $1 trillion in annual revenues. It said the risk of “being left behind is worth the incremental investment needed to get started” in the race to occupy a space in the metaverse.
Few companies are boldly pushing for a metaverse future the way Meta, formerly Facebook, is. Mark Zuckerberg has shifted the company’s priority almost entirely to the metaverse and has committed a $10 billion initial investment in development, and has filed for several patents related to tech that utilizes metaverse users’ biometric data to generate what they see in the virtual landscape. The company intends on monetizing the metaverse through virtual commerce and advertising revenue streams.
Microsoft aims to expand its dominance over the professional software market by integrating the Internet of Things into the metaverse, along with digital twins and mixed reality. For example, in order to troubleshoot, boost collaboration and directly interact with their product spaces, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces will allow professionals to recreate and visit their retail stores or factories during virtual meetings.
Additionally, the company made a substantial move into the social metaverse space in January when it announced its acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, which would give the company access to 400 million monthly active gamers.
Microsoft’s Xbox celebrated its 20th anniversary with a virtual 3D museum where gamers could personalize their own avatar and camera POV to immerse themselves in the franchise’s history of consoles, games and infamous mistakes.
It’s no secret that the metaverse requires a monumental amount of processing power. That’s where Nvidia has a leg up in the metaverse. Chief executive Jensen Huang said that the metaverse could save money and resources while reducing waste by simulating plants, factories, power grids and other infrastructure products before they’re constructed in the real world.
Qualcomm recently announced a new partnership with Microsoft to develop new technology that facilitates consumer and enterprise adoption of AR. The company’s chief executive mentioned that its Snapdragon semiconductor products—which already power an array of augmented and VR devices, most notably Meta’s Oculus Quest—will dominate the next generation of the Internet of Things and the metaverse.
Founded in 2004, the online entertainment platform that allows users to develop games has roughly 47 million daily active users (including about half of American children), 9.5 million developers, its own digital currency and several unique virtual experiences. The company recently purchased Guilded, a platform designed to connect various gaming communities.
Selfridges and Pokémon
To commemorate its 25th anniversary in 2021, Pokémon partnered with Selfridges, designer Charli Cohen and Yahoo Ryot Lab, to build a virtual city called Electric/City where fans could shop for exclusive virtual and physical Pokémon merch. Visitors were able to create custom avatars, dress them and view them via AR body-tracking Snapchat Lens and share them on social media and other virtual platforms.
The Canadian ecommerce company will play a critical role in monetizing the metaverse. It will be responsible for the digitalization of assets, currency and the ability for content creators to get paid. In 2021, it made two moves giving it a foothold into the possible commerce aspirations of the metaverse. First, it acquired the AR app Primer, which will allow users to see the effects of a purchase or project in their space firsthand—a powerful tool that’ll allow subscribers to build-out shopping experiences and stores in the metaverse. It also launched an NFT platform allowing digital creators—the first of which being the Chicago Bulls—to sell art and other content directly to consumers.
Several other companies are beginning to toy with the idea of a metaverse future by applying for trademarks. Brands like Victoria’s Secret, L’Oreal and McDonald’s and even the now-defunct Blockbuster have all filed trademark requests for online retail services featuring virtual foods, brand names, product names and more. Premier League champions Manchester City, along with its new partner Sony, is building its iconic home, Etihad Stadium, in the metaverse using Sony subsidiary Hawk-Eye’s image analysis and skeletal-tracking technology.