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Stacks & Strategies | Metaverse - The Inevitable Reality

Breaking down the advent of metaverse, digital collectibles, virtual personality extensions and data on the blockchain.

By  Suveer BajajAug 2, 2022 4:52 PM
Stacks & Strategies | Metaverse - The Inevitable Reality
The metaverse is nothing but an extension to express our personality. It gives us freedom from the real world restrictions. (Representational Image via Unsplash)

If empirical evidence is anything to go by, once initial trepidation is erased, mankind does tend to embrace new developments and integrate them into their lifestyle. Every Indian household watches content, but content consumption habits have transcended from cinema to television to now handheld devices leading up to 89 percent of our country streaming their content on their mobile phones.

The Invisible Nudge

What got people to integrate this habit into their daily routine? The OTT and short format content platforms themselves. With the OTT Industry projected to grow to $13.34 billion in 2023. That’s just over a 49 percent jump from its $8.95 billion industry growth numbers in 2020. The impact of a successful ‘behaviourial nudge’ via platforms is all around us, with Instagram becoming the go-to for businesses and individuals alike. It’s the ‘platforms’ that compete with each other, to draw people in and scale the community, to make it an attractive playground for brands.

It’s not about When but How we’re going to get on to the Metaverse ?

Rise of Web 3.0 Platform Experiences

The competition amongst Web3.0 platforms over the past four months has been exciting to watch. With each platform upping the ante to attract community and brands into the metaverse. Sandbox did this successfully with the launch of rapper Snoop Dog’s metaverse ‘Snoopverse’. Fans get to explore a custom virtual world featuring all things Snoop Dogg including ‘Doggies’, an NFT collection of 10,000 Snoop Dogg avatars. He also released an album on the blockchain through a partnership with Gala Games, a blockchain gaming platform, which sold over $44 million worth of ‘Stash Box’ NFTs in just five days.

Back home in cricket-crazy India, the Gujarat Titans became the first Indian sports team to land on the XP&Dland metaverse, which saw over 1 lakh visits from fans in their virtual fan dugout within just 24 hours, back in early March.

Statistics also indicate that platforms like Decentraland have seen their user base rise by 3,300 percent, achieving a peak market cap of $12 billion. Others like Somnium Space and The Sandbox have seen similar figures in terms of early growth, proving that the universe is expanding not just cosmically, but digitally too.

Community

The current generation of Millennials and Gen-Z has graduated from Web 2.0 to 3.0. The next generation, Gen-Alpha, will be native to the Web 3.0 universe and will have a very unique set of considerations. A pivotal point that will steer Gen-Alpha and Gen-Z towards the metaverse, is it being a community based platform, just like Facebook was two decades ago.

‘Digital Ownership’ are the new ‘Followers and Likes’

After the liberalization, privatization, and globalization of India, the big dream was to purchase a car, own a home and collect tangible assets. The core ideology of premium and private exclusivity extends to the metaverse as well. Except it’s the allure of ‘digital ownership’ where every individual takes pride in owning a virtual commodity that is exclusive to them, much akin to a cherished home, car or motorbike in the physical world.

"Fashion is only the attempt to realize art in living forms and social intercourse," this quote by the great English philosopher Francis Bacon perfectly describes our relationship with fashion. The future of fashion will no longer just be about real life trends but virtual ones too. With the introduction of RWA NFTs, owning “haute couture” on the Metaverse need not be limited to the digital realm; one can flaunt a physical memento of their exquisite virtual acquisition.

Fashion and the Metaverse are a match made in couture heaven! Take Gucci’s collaboration with Roblox for example. An expansive online platform where one can access a plethora of games, Roblox saw Gucci enter its dominion as users could purchase digital Gucci memorabilia and dress their game avatars. The campaign was an instant success as gamers queued up to ‘Gucci-fy’ their online presence. Inside Roblox‘s virtual world, a digital-only Gucci bag sold for more money than the bag’s value in the real world. One user paid roughly $4,115, or INR 350,000, for a Gucci Roblox-only purse, almost $800 more than its price in physical stores.

Apart from these, many luxury fashion brands have independently launched their own NFTs which are finding a lot of fandom in the digital space. RTKFT, a virtual sneaker brand, had auctioned their limited edition virtual shoes which clocked in $3.1 million in revenue. Fabricant is the first Metaverse-only fashion company to create fashion for avatars created by avatar leader Ready Player Me.

Basics like Education and Healthcare on the Metaverse

From fashion to lifestyle to medicine, no space has gone untouched by the Metaverse mania. An institutionalized field like education too is finding new and advanced resources with Metaverse, with ed-tech companies like UnfoldU launching a blockchain powered platform that is expected to become a mega education metaversity.

Healthcare will see a radical change ushered by the Metaverse and more specifically, Blockchain. Just from a mental health perspective, approaching a therapist would be a much less intrusive and much more accessible task in the Metaverse.

Not just on the execution side, administrative and logistics can also benefit from the seamless operability. Efficient data management of patients, end to end process transparency, drug traceability and so much more can be achieved with the help of Blockchain. A life changing aspect of integrating this technology into medical services is the long term preservation of data and the unparalleled ability to identify small or significant errors in said data. It is this belief in the potential of virtual healthcare that saw the Yashoda Group of Hospitals, Hyderabad, acquire meta-space in Decentraland.

Interoperability

The metaverse is nothing but an extension to express our personality. It gives us freedom from the real world restrictions. This is where the brand’s like the ‘Petaverse’, the world's first metaverse for pets, will thrive (think of Tamagotchi’s of the early 2000s.) The Petaverse is a concept where one can create interoperable virtual pet companions that can accompany us across the metaverse landscape.

Pet parents may very well want to have a four legged buddy in their online residence too, and the few who can’t actually bring a pet home can witness the joys of having one in the Petaverse. ‘Interoperability’ is what will be the standout factor here, since this digital pet of ours can come along with us on any virtual adventure right from online shopping or attending a concert or any other place in the Metaverse.

A Whole New World Is Right Here

The Metaverse offers us an existence with far fewer restrictions and more opportunities, than what we could experience in the real world. That day isn’t too far off in the distant future, it’s happening right now.

Note to readers: Storyboard18’s new Month In Focus initiative spotlights themes and topics that are pushing marketers to reshape and rethink how brands interact with today’s customers. Our theme for this month is Stacks & Strategies, a martech and adtech spotlight on how decision makers and marketers are advancing the adoption of new technologies and tech-driven strategies in the brand marketing ecosystem. From the defining trends and preparing for a cookiepocalypse to how progressive martech strategies help fast track business and brand growth. Catch this special on Storyboard18.

First Published on Jul 7, 2022 11:06 AM