Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

The Metaverse Isn't Dying, the "Experts" Just Keep Getting It Wrong

Three factors tech companies big and small should consider when designing metaverse experiences.

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Word around the real world is that visions of the metaverse are fading due to dead-eyed dead ends clogged with cringe-worthy products and mismanaged marketing.

AntonioSolano | Getty Images

Just this past week, 's — excuse me — 's co-founder and CEO was zinged for investing over $10,000,000,000 in underwhelming graphics and over-hyped expectations. And that's just the latest in a long line of metaverse mockery and skepticism. But here's where the "the experts" have it wrong: The metaverse isn't dying; everyone has just been looking in the wrong direction.

Bring up the concept of the metaverse in conversation, and what comes to mind is bulky, pricey VR headsets and virtual hangouts that feel like cheesy animated chatrooms. Plus, the promise of an "escape from the real world" feels an awful lot like walking around your living room with a blindfold on. In both reality — and virtual reality — we were promised Holodecks and got handed a discount version of SecondLife.

But the goal of creating a metaverse isn't about generating neon graphics, but rather high-quality digital experiences of all shapes and sizes. In fact, Jensen Huang, the CEO of , defines the ideal iteration of the metaverse as "the internet in 3D" and theorizes that the experience will define user perception and adoption.

So, what will help ensure that experience is a positive one? Here are three factors tech companies, big and small, should consider:

Related: Why Your Business Needs to Prepare for the Metaverse

Let people use hardware they already own

Marketing to a small subset makes the cost of user acquisition much higher and reduces the pool of potential customers. While over 150 million Americans have smartphones, relatively few Americans have VR headsets. Why would companies restrict their metaverse offerings to users of more obscure hardware?

The ultimate reality (pun intended) about the metaverse is that the ease of the user experience will drive its short- and long-term success. An experience that is near at hand, readily accessible, and simple to take with you will lead to faster adoption by regular people, allowing for more innovation down the road. To claim that "the required to accomplish this feat is years from being ready" is ill-informed; we already possess "a portal to other worlds right in our pocket." Why force new technology when customers can use what's already in their hands?

Start with the real world

The best versions of the metaverse will use technology to augment the world we already live in. That's why virtual real estate app ATLAS: EARTH is taking off even as blockchain-based real estate has been crashing since the beginning of the calendar year. It sits on top of the real world with real-world location-based gameplay.

People relate to where they work, play and live. So, players who participate in the with ties to the real world are more compelled to engage in that virtual reality. Why? Because it's not entirely foreign; there's already a built-in connection, and they're already invested if it's their chosen real world. It's a much easier "sell" to get them to augment their existing life than to teach them the mechanics and physics of a "new" world. Spending less time teaching and more time enabling people to get involved will pay off with better engagement.

Related: Why You (And Your Business) Need To Take The Metaverse Seriously

Meet the user where they are

Big tech companies want to build walled gardens because it makes them more money. But do people want walled gardens? Do they want to leave this reality just to play in some tech company's proprietary fantasyland? Companies need to understand what people love most about their "real world" brands and augment those experiences, not just create an experience to drive more revenue and activations.

Take Quibi as an example. It extinguished tens of millions of dollars chasing something people clearly didn't want. At ATLAS: EARTH, we are nimble enough to speak to our customers consistently. Tailoring our product to their needs enabled us to garner over a hundred thousand weekly active users while only raising $8 million. Muscling your way to adoption is neither an answer nor an option. Companies must be authentic in their approach and understand their customer's needs and desires.

All of this continues to demonstrate that people are already eager to enter this virtual universe, but it can only be achieved via meeting them where they are and augmenting their everyday lives. The metaverse isn't dead-eyed or dying — it's thriving. You just need to know where to look.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks