When the starchitects get involved, you know things are getting real.
News that Bjarke Ingels is designing an ‘office’ for Vice Media in the Decentraland metaverse and that Grimshaw has been commissioned to create four new blockchain-based lands for metaverse pax.world, mean 2022 is likely to go down in history as the year the metaverse hit the mainstream.
The Metaverse isn’t new, having been first conceptualised in the 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash and brought to fruition by Second Life in 2003, but technology has now caught up with the concept and put it within reach of the average business.
McKinsey says explosive growth will see the metaverse being worth US$5tr by 2030 and with such reputable thought leaders taking this kind of bullish stance, the big money is pouring in, making it more likely this prediction will come to pass.
In spite of all this heavy-duty activity, however, some are still dismissing the metaverse as a fad – as they did with the internet in the early 90s – but this is missing the point. The metaverse is simply another tool and when humans are given new tools and creativity kicks in, the opportunities are limitless.
You’ll be able to own, build and – very importantly – monetise virtual experiences to be enjoyed by consumers in VR-based parallel internet worlds that enable the creation of avatars and real-time interactions and payments.
On page 52, we get inspiration from tech expert, Rainer Usselmann, who’s working on metaverse-based immersive experiences for German wellness operator, Wund.
These services could include digital therapeutics, curated content to alter mood and improve wellbeing and things such as interactive wellness installations and experiential relaxation programmes.
The metaverse presents many opportunities and threats – the opportunity to develop revenue streams, undertake brand extension and explore new digital frontiers, for example, but also the threat that non-facility-based businesses will develop rival brands or leverage existing properties to build competitive businesses.
Now’s the time to be making your brain ache thinking through what the metaverse will mean for you.