The metaverse is hailed as a digital environment with the power of virtual and augmented reality technologies. Safe to say, it’s set to herald a new era in content creation.
If experts are to be believed, the metaverse will transform the creator economy and the nature of decentralization. There’s never been a more striking attention on the creator economy.
“The metaverse will change the paradigm of content creation”, says CEO of KuCoin – Johnny Lyu. Keeping in mind the present spectrum of time, content creators will play a vital part in creating the metaverse space because of their widespread and established social media presence.
According to reports, 50 million people globally consider themselves content creators and the metaverse is reshaping the creator economy market that is growing well over $104 billion.
What is a creator economy?
Creator economy is the class of brands and businesses built by independent content creators, curators, and community builders such as social media influencers, bloggers, and videographers. It also includes the software and finance tools designed to help them with growth and monetization.
The economy answers the growing demand that many people are looking for: easily accessible expertise, experiences, and communities. It is based on three main aspects that work together in creating this thriving industry:
- Creators that set up their own businesses based on a unique skill, concept, passion, or goal.
- Digital platforms that let creators host their content and products so they can grow their business and communities.
- The consumers that buy the content and services produced by creators.
A Metaverse For Everyone
Not just industry experts, in fact everyone believes that metaverse is coming, but the reality is that the metaverse is already here. In real life on a daily basis, we only interact with a handful of people. But our digital presence on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Zoom have blurred the geographical barriers and enabled us to interact with people all around the world. For example: a player does not just exist for the 2.5 hours that he is playing a game, but is a persona that extends beyond the physical court on television, social media, news outlets, merchandise, brand deals and more.
The pandemic restricted physical interactions, hence surging digital usage and content creation, with platforms like Zoom, Google Meet and FaceTime reconfiguring the very essence of social interactions. This is why the metaverse is here to stay as people are beginning to spend a considerable portion of their human experience “on the internet and not in the physical world.”
Furthermore, web3 and cryptocurrency have also amplified the distance between physical and digital identities. With the advent of blockchain, people can add a financial component to digital identity, use alternative online identities to build relationships, contribute to projects and earn income, all while remaining detached from their offline, physical selves.
To put it simply, metaverse will not be a single centralized platform owned by a single company, but rather in a network of digital exchanges intersecting with our physical lives.
Metaverse will blend our lives across physical and digital in a way that transcends traditional geography and time zones and take our digital reach far beyond our physical reach to connect communities in ways that were never possible before.
Tracking the evolution of ‘Creator Economy’
When seen from today’s digital perspective, the creator economy is about unravelling creativity — allowing anyone and everyone to earn money or build a business around an audience, free from the technological barriers of the past.
- Pioneer Era
At this stage of the evolution, nothing comes before the participants as they enjoy the first mover advantage.
Infact, the customers of the creators are also a bit more tolerant of bugs, delays, and problems. This stage favours innovators who have the capital, time, and expertize to build their own technology to generate creative output.
The teams are led by creative vision but propelled by technological talent. The leaders who emerge from this stage disrupt market incumbents who had depended on non-technological competitive advantages. Players such as Pixar, Amazon, Zynga, Supercell fall into this category.
- Engineering Era
With the development of the creative economy, a diaspora of teams who have learnt some of the best practices and have experience building the enabling technologies start to pop up.
There’s an inflow of capital and fast-followers. The teams rely heavily on engineering and are led by people who built it all before. However, the shortage of enough experienced engineers to satisfy market demand is a hurdle.
This serves as an opportunity for software companies and open-source projects to emerge and give engineers a life preserver: tools and middleware that can help the teams with technically complex and repetitive aspects of implementation. Some of the key players of this phase are:
- Creator Era
In this era, creative work gets separated from the enabling innovations.
The creators make content and experiences for people. They have a unique understanding of certain communities, new ways to connect with audiences, new forms of storytelling and mastery of new forms of expression.
The constraints of the engineering era like technology bottlenecks, lack of agility in processes, capital, time etc. have hindered the creators’ process.
Creators need something that’s truly for them urgently, as there’s a rapidly growing population of creators to compete with and extensive competition.
What is the Impact of the Creator Era?
- Relevant content as the creators get to do what they love to do.
- Widespread democratization as more creators participate in the market, and there’s a power-law distribution of economic opportunity.
- Unsettle market participants dependent on legacy and slow technologies that are too expensive and unreliable.
- Directing engineering resources towards the next wave of pioneering technologies.
Which Are The Participants of the Creator Era?
Various pathbreaking companies have been born in this stage of the market:
- Wix: Making website creation easy and accessible to everyone
- Shopify: Made creating an e-commerce business into something that anyone could do, powering everything from mom-and-pop small businesses, to a coffee company earning >$2000/minute, to giants like Budweiser.
- Roblox: This gaming company turned creating multiverse experiences and games into something virtually anyone could try their hand at. It has expanded so much that today there are young adults making $10M+/year with Roblox experiences.
- Twitch: This company made live video streaming a reality for anyone — enabling Fortnite player Tyler “Ninja” Blevins to earn millions.
A Rapidly Growing Creator Economy
It is a common belief that the metaverse will allow creators to saturate markets and industries through new promotional opportunities for products and services.
With Web3 technologies in hand, new avenues for content creation are now available. Blockchain technologies further allow creators to monetize their talent independent of centralized hosting platforms, while NFTs allow for authenticity and provable ownership.
With the help of all these resources, creators are developing their own business models, altering marketing paradigms and reaching out to new audiences globally. And their industry is only getting bigger and better.
Future of the Creator Economy: Relationships, Partnerships and Ownership
Creators have instilled a sense of community experience in the budding metaverse – with various companies and people consuming the metaverse and digital identity in different ways, the level of engagement with audiences, ownership rights and brand partnerships are becoming very important.
Brand presence and images are becoming more tied to their content, thus paving the way for partnerships between brands and content creators to increase tenfold. Various companies are partnering with individual creators to launch products and services, and platforms like Roblox have attracted over 8 million creators by directly empowering them to generate content.
With every passing day, it’s becoming quite clear that the activities that people, or groups perform on the internet have a deep connection with activity in the real world. The coming times will be testament to a deep partnership between producers of goods, content and services, and then also those creators who have built a community and have authority on the Internet to bring those things to life.
In a nutshell, as the boundary between physical and digital experiences slowly becomes blurred, one thing is assured — creators will take centre stage and take the metaverse experience a notch higher.