Why You (And Your Business) Need To Take The Metaverse Seriously
Today, the internet is the bedrock of our daily lives. It's not only driving our gadgets and devices, but it's also navigating, creating, and mapping our digital lives through a range of social (media) platforms and apps.
I don't know if it's a failure to understand the technology or a very basic resistance to change, but the same skepticism surrounding the advent of the internet in the 1990s seems to have enveloped the launch of the metaverse in the world we live in today. A young David Letterman in conversation with an even younger Bill Gates trying to understand why the world needs to be digitally connected is a startling reminder of how recently the internet came into being.
And yet, in just 30 years, look how far we've come. Today, the internet is the bedrock of our daily lives. It's not only driving our gadgets and devices, but it's also navigating, creating, and mapping our digital lives through a range of social (media) platforms and apps. And here's the hard truth– not a single one of us is willing to give up our online lives and narratives. The immersion will only get deeper. So, it does beg the question: where do we go from here?
A SIGN OF THE TIMES
The confusion (and reluctance) that's currently surrounding the metaverse is understandable. After all, it follows hard and hot on the heels of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (and we're barely getting our heads around those), with Web3 (or, MV3, as it is more colloquially called) is undeniably and irrevocably the next stage of digital evolution. As millions of people continue investing and migrating onto the metaverse, it's time to get onboard, or be forgotten. And if we are being honest with ourselves, we did see this coming.
With roughly 2.89 billion monthly active users on Facebook and a billion-plus on Instagram alone (not even counting all the other platforms and usership out there), increased digital preoccupations and immersions is the only way forward. Add to that a whole new generation of tech-savvy preteens and teenagers already playing (350 million users on Fortnite, and growing!), operating, and living a more wholesome version of their lives on the web, and you know that this train has already left the station. The way I see it, the best-case scenario is that you catch the next ride out, and try and keep up.
LIFE MOVES ONLINE
As these tech-savvy users move from an online "renting" model to online "ownership," brands and labels are already making the transition to Web3 to offer their real-life products to digital identities. For instance, Spanish fashion house Zara has recently taken the leap with South Korean label Ader Error to launch its first collaborative project where users can purchase digital clothes and makeup for their avatars. Similarly, Nikeland and Adidas Originals have issued statements to boldly venture into the "bleeding edge" of the "frontier of creativity" to see every one of the metaverse's inhabitants thrive. How, you ask? By helping the makers of original digital content own (and sell) their products in the digitalverse- because now, there is a demand for it. Backed by blockchain, the metaverse's identities, personas, and narratives are going to be as distinct in digital DNA as you are to me.
As the MV3 landscape evolves, job openings for digital fashion designers, tour guides, event directors, world builders, and even metaverse safety managers become more relatable. Similarly, haptic gloves, bodysuits, virtual reality, and augmented reality tech are slated to become the next purchase progression to our AirPods, charging pads, and wearable tech. The way I see it, there's a whole new creative economy just waiting to be unlocked on Web3.
BLURRING THE LINE
And that, in a way, is the crux of it. Brands with physical assets and value right now realize that if they're to last for all times and ages, they need to have a Web3 presence, in addition to what they've got going on in the real world. It means not only getting on this learning curve, but through collaborations and partnerships, create a digital identity that can go forward.
While a future fitted out in digital gloves, VR/AR glasses, and sensory bodysuits sounds dystopian at worst and life-imitating-art (remember Ready Player One?) at best, you can no longer deny that it seems to be heading straight at us. Today, if you look back at those late 80s and early 90s videos of people talking about the internet, their naivete (or, dare I say, willful ignorance?) seems laughable. Much like we all had to jump aboard the digital marketing, branding, and brand building bandwagon a decade ago, it looks like we're all at another juncture where we need to up level our game again. So, what are you going to do about it? That's the question I'll leave you with.