According to research from Emergen Research last year, the Metaverse was valued at $47.69 billion in 2020 and would reach $829 billion by 2028. With such huge numbers backing the metaverse industry, it is safe to believe that metaverse is constantly evolving with a bucket full of megatrends, backed by a gamut full of technological developments happening now.
Up until 2021, almost no one had imagined that such a fiction-esque idea had the possibility of becoming real.
But the tables turned when US social media giant Facebook (now Meta) changed its name and set on the path to become a global metaverse leader, a move that may significantly impact the industry in the days to come. This change of name triggered a frenzy with millions of people running to social media and Google to know more about this major pivot.
Meta has made an initial investment of $50 million and dedicated resources to employ 10,000 “Metamates” to build its virtual world, which would approximately take 15 years to build.
Following its footsteps, a lot of brands from various industries are dipping their toes into the metaverse and embracing the future that it beholds.
When you think of the Metaverse, it is normal to assume that companies like Decentraland, Sandbox, and soon Meta are the only big shots in the Metaverse. But, many additional layers go far deeper. All these leading platforms are the front-facing section of the Metaverse and fall within the digital experience layer.
According to Jon Radoff, the Metaverse consists of seven fundamental layers that signify several stages of the metaverse ecosystem and together provide a systematic method for sketching its architecture. Although simplistic, his seven-tier insight describes the value-chain of the metaverse market. These include opportunities, technological innovations and solutions to our current problems.
Infrastructure is the foundation layer as without adequate framework, none of the other developments are possible. This is why technological processes form the heart of the metaverse, while the other tiers include experience, discovery, creator economy, spatial computing, decentralization and human interface.
However, before we dig that deep into each of these seven layers to deepen your understanding of the metaverse, let us understand what the metaverse is.
Layer 1: Experiencing the Metaverse
Metaverse is considered to be a 3D space that will surround us.
But, the metaverse is not 3D or 2D, or even necessarily graphical; it is about the inexorable dematerialization of physical space, distance and objects.
As the physical space becomes dematerialized, the constraints physicality brings will be blurred and lifted. Hence, the metaverse will provide us with a gamut of experiences that we are not able to enjoy today, across various industries and domains.
The layer of ‘experience’ is one of the reasons why the biggest brands are already focusing on massive interactive live events (MILEs). These events hosted on platforms like Decentraland and Roblox give us just a sneak peek of how the metaverse can make immersive events accessible to everyone.
Can’t buy a front row ticket to a real-life Snoop Dogg concert? In the metaverse, all tickets will be front row.
1. Experience: Travel Around the Globe
Let’s say you live in a very summer-filled place, maybe Florida. But you crave snow.
So you log into the metaverse and immerse yourself in snow-related experiences. You go snow skiing with friends who live in Spain, but connect with you online. You have a good time with your loved one by the fireplace or maybe you have some “me time” in the virtual outdoors, looking around in wonder as snow falls over you.
Well, on your avatar, but that’s also so you right. So, you’ll take it.
Well, you could also order some hot cocoa or soup from a nearby, real life restaurant, turn on the air conditioner at home, and watch a fashion show that’s happening in New York City in real time… on the snow.
2. Experience: Immersive Commerce or Retail
Then, you realize your avatar needs warmer clothes to beat the cold, so you click a button and buy, contributing to the $40 billion a year market of skin games aka clothes and other items that upgrade avatars’ looks.
But you feel like treating yourself with some winter clothes too.
So you click another button and get them delivered to your offline home. When it comes to creating an experience of immersive retail or commerce, big shots like Gucci and Burberry have also made ways into the metaverse.
- Gucci Organized a Virtual Exhibition and Proved Metaverse Profitability for Retail Brands
To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Gucci created a virtual exhibition of art installations named Gucci Garden, based on a real life, multimedia experience in Italy.
As users entered the virtual exhibition, their metaverse avatars transformed into genderless mannequins to provide them with a blank canvas for creation.
They could wander through a variety of themed rooms, whose design and virtual elements were inspired by past brand campaigns and collections. As they wandered through the rooms, they retained different aspects of the exhibit on their avatar bodies. In part, they did so by trying on and purchasing virtual products.
Since each visitor entered the exhibit from a different room, wandered through the rooms in a different order, and tried different products, each visitor left the exhibit looking unique, just as they are uniquely themselves in real life.
3. Experience: Immersive Gaming and ESports
Esports is the wide world of competitive video gaming. The explosive growth of games such as Roblox and League of Legends coupled with streaming services like Twitch, have enabled viewers across the globe to watch their favourite gamers in real time.
The audience for esports is growing in huge quantum, with League of Legends World Championship Finals 2019 witnessing 100 million unique views compared with 2018 Super Bowl’s estimated 98 million viewers.
Well, the wonders just don’t end at viewership as the esports revenue is also blooming.Over the past few years, esports have grown exponentially and is expected to surpass $1.5 bn by 2023.
4. Experience: Education and Learning
The field of education is constantly evolving – with state-of-the-art technology, new teaching methods being explored all the time.
Immersive learning has gained popularity in recent years and these experiential learning techniques are transforming the educational field, especially in primary and secondary schools.
Simply put, immersive learning is:
- a teaching and learning approach that integrates technology with traditional methods of education
- providing a more realistic and stimulating environment for growth
- focusing more on the experience of learning rather than if a student’s answers are right or wrong.
- using digital media, simulations, and other interactive tools to create “immersive” experiences for learners
On top of it, gamification in learning has also become quite a rage involving using game-based elements such as
- point scoring
- peer competition
- team work
- score tables etc to drive engagement,
This method helps students assimilate new information and test their knowledge. It is used widely in self-teaching apps and courses, showing that the effects of gamification do not stop when we are adults.
Infact, experiential and immersive learning has become an integral part of corporate training as well, so much so that there has been a positive inclination in employee engagement and retention.
5. Experience: Reimagine Real Estate
Imagine living in Toronto and planning to immediately rent an apartment in Oaklive! Visiting several properties and house hunting around could be cumbersome and tiring.
But, what if we tell you that you can scout through potential properties and homes in Oaklive by simply sitting in the comfort of your home. Well, once a distant reality, has now been made possible by augmented reality and virtual reality that transforms the landscape of real estate.
The confidence that comes from a virtual reality tour is important to buyers. According to VRARA’s survey, 40.4% of apartment buyers confirmed that VR tours play an important role in making purchasing decisions.
The experience layer of metaverse opens doors for several use cases in real estate:
i) Virtual home tour
If you like any house, just hover to its website and choose the ‘virtual tour’ option for that house.
Using this feature, you can take a virtual tour of every room with the help of virtual reality goggles. You can also interact with several objects in their surroundings like opening the fridge and turning on the sink tap.
ii) Home hunting
If you are a property investor, you are always looking for better investment opportunities. You may stumble upon areas where properties may have a good resale value.
With AR-enabled apps, you can simply hold your phone towards a street and receive important information such as estimated property value, rental prices, number of bedrooms, and many more.
iii) Interior design
AR and VR in real estate enables interior designers to exhibit their designs via VR goggles or AR-enabled mobile apps.
He/she can create multiple virtual designs for clients considering their preferred color scheme, layout, area, and the number of rooms. In case of any changes, the designer can update such designs in real-time.
Well, all the industries mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metaverse’s layer of experience. It also extends in various other walks of life be it fitness, collaborative work spaces, automotive, design, architecture and engineering, volumetric streaming, live music etc.
The layer of experience is the most eye-catchy and crucial part of the metaverse universe. With every individual wanting to experience something intriguing, the experience aspect of the metaverse helps tap the right potential from various industries.
That said, don’t dismiss the metaverse if your audience isn’t that into it yet. This is still a growing space, and there’s bound to be some resistance, as with any new technological advancement.
Needless to say, there are going to be certain roadblocks in executing the experience aspect into its full might but it’s gonna be worth it all. So, go ahead and take the plunge as the metaverse is all set to offer you the most unique experiences ever.