Before COVID-19, virtual events were considered irregularities. A recent study shows that only 45% of people attended virtual events before the pandemic. Currently, that number has reached 87%.
If you appreciate the convenience of virtual meetings and events but wish they were better, there's great news ahead. Many software conglomerates, game developers, social media companies, and startups are working on the next big thing online: the metaverse.
Top Companies Making Waves in the Metaverse Marketing Niche:
What Is the Metaverse?
The exact definition of the metaverse is still ambiguous because the concept is still new and constantly evolving. But loosely defined, the metaverse consists of an array of virtual environments where people can present themselves and interact as digital avatars. These digital avatars can also migrate across digital spaces.
As blockchain technology becomes increasingly interoperable—meaning that different networks are capable of interacting with each other—it has become possible to move from one virtual space to another and transfer your digital assets from platform to platform in the metaverse. The metaverse also runs on a functional digital economy through cryptocurrencies.
The metaverse is still in its early stages of construction, but it promises an endless range of possibilities. Eventually, the metaverse will be:
The metaverse will use new standards to track and trace digital items like non-fungible tokens, which users will be able to move seamlessly between different platforms and even networks. There will be no more walls between digital spaces.
The forms of interaction we have today will vastly expand due to shared virtual environments in the metaverse.
Massive in scalability
Hundreds of millions of digital avatars will be able to coexist simultaneously. Users will be able to attend major virtual events without sharing servers.
Accessible for all
It will be a living reality available in real time for all.
There will be endless virtual opportunities for everyone. Companies and communities can evolve for many years without the threat of disappearing online.
Available for all hardware
The virtual environments will be accessible to nearly all devices.
Packed with new content
Technologies for creating content and companies in virtual environments are improving rapidly. Interactive concepts that used to be implausible will now come to life.
A vast space for growth
Virtual environments will soon be recognized as legitimate workplaces with a variety of career prospects. People will be able to invest, lease, and own digital assets.
Bridge between two worlds
As more and more people own digital assets and these assets continue to gain real-world value, the metaverse links the physical and digital worlds.
Key Terms Associated with the Metaverse
The term "metaverse" is a combination of the prefix "meta" (beyond) and the stem "verse" (universe). Neal Stephenson first coined the term in his 1992 novel Snow Crash. However, one of its most nuanced definitions came from Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist whose writing sparked a lot of buzz about this array of virtual worlds.
Here are some commonly used terms related to the metaverse.
Virtual reality (VR)
Virtual reality is an immersive experience where you can interact with a digital world using a head-mounted device. The VR headset immerses you in a 360-degree virtual world where you can freely move around.
Augmented reality (AR)
Augmented reality is a technologically enhanced version of the real world that employs digital visual elements, sounds, and other sensory stimuli. One of the best examples of AR is Pokémon Go.
Mixed reality (MR)
Mixed reality combines VR and AR, but its exact definition is still ambiguous. Using a device like the Microsoft HoloLens, you can interact with and manipulate virtual objects that are overlaid onto your real-world environment.
An avatar is your virtual persona or your digital image. It could resemble you like an Apple Memoji or Snapchat Bitmoji, or it could be a unique representation of you like your own Fortnite skin.
Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
MMORPGs are story-driven online games in which you, in a role, interact with many other characters in a virtual—typically fantasy—environment. Interactive games like World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Elder Scrolls are said to be the foundation of the metaverse.
Blockchain technology provides a way to store data that makes it almost impossible to change or hack. A blockchain is a digital ledger that is replicated and delivered to every system on the blockchain network.
Kept in digital wallets, cryptocurrency or crypto is any digital or virtual currency that employs encryption to ensure safe transactions. It's a payment system that enables you to send and receive money anywhere in the world. There is no central body that issues or regulates cryptocurrencies. Instead, decentralized systems track transactions and issue new units.
Nonfungible tokens (NFTs)
An NFT is a unique digital asset stored on a blockchain. It may be in the form of digital art, game items, or collectibles, among others. NFTs give you a stake in the digital world as they are secured by blockchain technology, giving you true digital ownership of a one-of-a-kind asset.
Blockchain games are video games that use blockchain technology, which affords players true ownership of their in-game items in the form of NFTs and lets them earn yield in the form of tokens. These NFTs and tokens can then be bought, sold, or traded in open exchanges.
Benefits of the Metaverse
A metaverse event allows for a virtually unlimited audience. And while today's technology still can't process millions of users seeing each other and interacting in the same virtual space simultaneously, smaller groups could. Sports events can significantly benefit from this. The metaverse is also great for universities, particularly those with rich libraries of online content.
Boundless environment possibilities
The sky's the limit when it comes to venue design in the metaverse. In this virtual world, there are no budget restrictions, no building codes, and no construction hiccups to consider.
The promise of true ownership of digital assets afforded by smart contracts is attracting the attention of many, particularly young creators. While the metaverse economy is still growing, it is already generating commercial and monetization opportunities. Artists can mint their digital creations as NFTs, which art collectors can buy or trade as one-of-a-kind or limited-edition assets. Influencers and content creators can create their own social tokens, which their fans and followers can buy, sell, or trade to gain access to exclusive content.
Challenges Surrounding the Metaverse
The metaverse is still in its early stages. Like any new technology, it has hardware, platform, and interoperability limitations. For example, while some companies in the metaverse already host virtual events, you can only have a wholly immersive experience with the proper gear like a headset and controllers, which can be quite pricey.
But perhaps the biggest issue surrounding the metaverse is the interoperability between platforms. As of now, there is no standard in the metaverse. This means that different platforms may require different hardware and software, which can also be costly.
Top Companies to Watch in the Metaverse
The buzz behind the metaverse represents an unparalleled potential for different tech companies who see the virtual world as the future of the internet. Here are the top 15 companies making waves in the metaverse marketing niche.
- Metaverse Niche: Virtual Platform, Game Creation System
Roblox is a comprehensive metaverse concept. With a seamless, fully functioning digital world, players can participate in various custom and user-generated games.
While the concept isn't new, the technology in Roblox has vastly improved. When older virtual worlds were once limited to desktop computers, platforms like Roblox can easily be accessed via mobile phone, tablet, and other smart devices.
Roblox’s minimalistic design, also makes it easy for other companies to collaborate with Roblox to scale their presence in the metaverse. For instance, Nike has launched a Roblox-based metaverse store. Since many Roblox users are teenagers, Nike has the opportunity to market its brand to young athletes. The collaboration ensures monetization to both parties.
Meta (formerly Facebook)
- Metaverse Niche: Social Media, Social Network Advertising, Consumer Electronics
Facebook officially changed its name to Meta in October 2021. Mark Zuckerberg noted that the name "Facebook" no longer accurately describes the company and its services as it also houses diverse applications like Instagram and its VR platform, Oculus.
With the rebranding comes the acknowledgment of its intention to move into the exhaustive world of the metaverse. Zuckerberg sees the metaverse as the future of social networking. The company has been aggressively working on its virtual reality headset for quite a while now.
- Metaverse Niche: Software Development, Computer Hardware, Consumer Electronics
Microsoft announced their intention to enter the metaverse roughly two years after the pandemic drove people worldwide to rely heavily on digital communications.
It's handy to work remotely, yet virtual meetings can feel impersonal. Face-to-face encounters are lost, resulting in missed opportunities to build relationships and advance careers. The company's Mesh for Microsoft Teams in 2022 addresses these disconnections.
Using mixed reality, Mesh for Teams enables you to interact with virtual 3D materials using VR headsets and MR glasses. Mesh also offers MR capabilities to allow you to join virtual meetings, share messages, collaborate on tasks, and more.
- Metaverse Niche: Graphic Cards, Artificial Intelligence, Video Games, Hardware
One of the most renowned chip manufacturers today, Nvidia, is also entering the metaverse fray. The company has always searched for innovative ways to go beyond video game graphic cards. Nvidia's most significant metaverse opportunity is in artificial intelligence (AI), which uses processors that can help users render extensive environments.
Omniverse, Nvidia's software platform, also benefits from the metaverse to create a more immersive virtual environment. It takes a lot of data to manipulate the virtual world quickly. This means more computers will need better graphics and AI processors, an arena that Nvidia dominates.
- Metaverse Niche: Sports Equipment, Apparel, Accessories
In partnership with Roblox, the footwear and apparel brand is experimenting with the metaverse. It designed the immerive virtual world "Nikeland," where you can play games, run marathons, and try new sports shoes. Nikeland also features digital avatars and reward-based games. The winners receive "blue bands."
Nike intends to replicate the real-life experience in VR. Players can wear digitized Nike digs. With virtual games and retails, Nike is gaining a fair share of the metaverse pie.
- Metaverse Niche: Computer Software, Video Games
Unity Software's central component is a graphics engine that allows developers to create digital art on various platforms. A Unity engine-powered game can run on consoles, computers, smartphones, and VR headsets.
In addition to its core game business, Unity dabbles in 3D graphics that are vital to computer-aided designs, video productions, and e-commerce. You may order merchandise like clothing and accessories from a VR warehouse, with Unity taking part in the sale.
- Metaverse Niche: Software, Media & Entertainment
Autodesk is best known for developing ground-breaking AutoCAD software. Engineers, architects, designers, and academics use this industry-standard software to create 2D and 3D designs.
The exciting part is that AutoCAD is becoming an essential piece of software in constructing virtual worlds for gaming and entertainment. Autodesk now offers technology for rendering 3D animations, creating and launching virtual buildings, and enhancing VR and AR designs.
With its successful history with 3D design, Autodesk is quickly becoming the top choice for developers aiming to build the metaverse.
Block (formerly Square)
- Metaverse Niche: Financial Services, Mobile Payment
Jack Dorsey rebranded Square as part of the company’s entry into the metaverse. The rebranding goes beyond Square's existing businesses. It also references the metaverse building blocks.
Block has built successful financial services, including CashApp, TBD, and Tidal. The company plans to use these services to expand into VR and AR arenas. It has gradually invested in cryptocurrency as well, which should further ease its transition into the metaverse.
- Metaverse Niche: E-commerce, Payment Services
Shopify helps small business owners develop websites and accept online payments. Shopify's toolbox and services have evolved to encompass a range of auxiliary things essential for small businesses to thrive. These days, Shopify is expanding its brand to the metaverse.
The company just recently launched two initiatives relating to metaverse commerce. First, it acquired the AR app Primer, which enables you to see how your home design purchase will match your home’s interiors in real time. This provides Shopify a powerful tool to construct future virtual shops or shopping experiences.
It also introduced a new NFT platform that will allow digital creators to market their art and other content directly to consumers. As the product's initial test, Shopify collaborated with the Chicago Bulls. They released limited-edition NFTs of the team's 1991 championship rings.
Together, these two initiatives allow Shopify to easily integrate into the metaverse and achieve its future business goals.
- Metaverse Niche: Video Games
Epic Games is an American video game and software development company. Its games include Fortnite, Gears of War, and Unreal Engine.
The company is also leading the metaverse race. Its primary purpose is to establish a metaverse platform where users can engage with companies and spend more time in the virtual world. The metaverse gateway will be a one-stop shop for digital humans.
Virtual gaming, shopping, and dining also make this platform more exciting. Its metahuman builder tool lets you create lifelike, animated “Digital Humans,” or metahuman creations, that can play games.
- Metaverse Niche: 3D Technology
Matterport offers users spatial reality, created from digital indexes of buildings and other physical locations.
With an accurate digital representation of a building, Matterport can help create a realistic duplicate of the real world in the metaverse. You can take a virtual tour of a hotel or a tourist spot before making a reservation. You can do comprehensive research for a space for your small business from the comfort of your own home. The retail industry, in particular, stands to benefit significantly from this. Retailers can develop a digital model of their space and test several layouts without disrupting current operations.
Matterport is presently establishing its long-term business model, particularly in the metaverse. But as early as now, it stands to gain a significant share of the metaverse.
- Metaverse Niche: E-commerce
Aside from e-commerce and technology, Alibaba has expressed its ambition to create a metaverse where individuals can connect and trade. It set up Yuanjing Shengsheng in Beijing to analyze the metaverse's gaming potential. The new firm will primarily develop software.
Alibaba has likewise trademarked metaverse-related terms, including "Ali Metaverse."
The Chinese government has warned tech firms that selling virtual world real estate may result in money laundering and illegal fundraising. Faced with the country's reservations, several Chinese companies have followed Alibaba's approach, such as Tencent, NetEase, and Baidu. These firms have boosted their metaverse involvement.
- Metaverse Niche: Haptic Technology
Immersion creates haptic devices, or devices that respond to touch. Haptic technology is ubiquitous in game controllers. These days, controllers can detect how vigorously a player is gesturing and trigger the game to react. This allows for more advanced gaming features. More precise user controls that respond to touch and movement will help fuel the company's expansion to the metaverse.
- Metaverse Niche: Dating Software, Geosocial Networking
Tinder is a dating application that connects like-minded people who swipe right on each other’s profile.
The app has introduced new features like "Swipe Night" and "Explore." It expands its friends-to-potential-lovers app with the metaverse using digital avatars. You can make new friends and virtually dance with them using your avatar.
Tinder also aims to issue tokens to further its cryptocurrency objectives. With the company's virtual economy in place, metaverse dating can become a reality.
- Metaverse Niche: Infrastructure, Content Delivery Network
Fastly runs an edge computing infrastructure-as-a-service (laaS) platform that moves servers and other equipment closer to the data source. Fastly's platform can move 145GB of data per second across 28 countries.
Cloud computing is a wonderful service, but data lag remains to be a challenge. There are times when it takes several seconds for a webpage to load or for a website to process a task. The issue is the distance the data must travel.
Fastly reduces the lag and latency associated with decentralization. Like cloud computing, the metaverse requires a plethora of edge computing technologies. Think about the massive data flow needed to build a real-time virtual world you can fully participate in. These transactions necessitate edge computing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is an assemblage of virtual worlds where you can interact with others using digital avatars. The technology creates a virtual environment that is comparable to the real one.
What are the top metaverse companies making waves in the metaverse marketing niche?
Here are the top ten companies that are leading the metaverse race:
Meta (formerly Facebook)
Block (formerly Square)
And here are five more companies dabbling in metaverse that investors need to pay attention to:
When can we expect to see the full potential of the metaverse?
Tech giants estimate it could take five to 10 more years before the fully developed metaverse becomes mainstream. But this virtual world exists now, even if it's not yet accessible to all.