Our desire to conquer physical space transcends: scientific discoveries, technological innovations, and mathematical records push back the boundaries of what is unknown to us. To continue to quench that burning thirst in the human heart, that lavish and unexplored thirst, Silicon Valley appears as the answer. The invaders of the twenty-first century did not wait to embark on this new adventure, despite the pitfalls that lie their way…
Extraordinary enthusiasm for these new virtual worlds
Brands’ longing for the metaverse is undeniable: advertising has been booming for months, all sectors combined. At the beginning of the year, Carrefour acquired a 36-hectare plot of land in The Sandbox for 120 Ethereum (around €300,000).
A month later, an AXA network agent opened a virtual agency on the Gather platform. Nike teamed up with Roblox to create its own Metaverse, Nikeland, made up of gyms and a showroom to outfit the brand’s virtual shoes. The sports equipment manufacturer does not perform the tasks in half, but buys RTFKT in parallel, which is a “factory” of virtual sports shoes. Yes, we are also seeing the birth of the first web3 brands, such as Dress X or The Manufacturer, and DNVB (Digital Natives Vertical Brand), which are digital brands in the past.
We can legitimately ask ourselves: Who hasn’t joined the metaverse yet? And tomorrow’s my turn? Because although the outlines and rules are vague, and the uses are yet to be discovered, netizens are a little wary, every day new brands bet on this adventure of tomorrow. Is it the fear of not being on time and missing something, the need to appear as an introduction? It must be said that Bloomberg Intelligence’s predictions are tempting: the size of the metaverse market could reach $800 billion by 2024.
However, let’s not confuse speed with haste: it is not just a matter of buying a presence in the metaverse, but of living there and above all giving customers a unique experience. Rome 3.0 was not built in a day, so it is imperative that you take the time to think of a sustainable and relevant strategy.
The digital gold rush won’t come without a cost!
The metaverse is the shimmering promise of ad space with unlimited possibilities. If this promise sparkles the eyes, then it hides some limitations. Let’s start with the acquisition cost! Virtual lands are being snapped up at high prices: Forbes estimates first prices to range from $15,000 to $45,000 depending on the location of the lands and platforms. Where a 96-square-meter plot costs $15,000 (or 5 ETH) on The Sandbox, prices have skyrocketed in Decentraland: Investment firm Tokens paid $2.4 million (618,000 MANA) for 116 plots. A total area of 565 square meters in the fashion district of Decentraland Street [Source]. Not to mention that acquiring territory in the metaverse cannot be improvised: companies must be in-house equipped to pay with cryptocurrencies, which, let’s remember, has been a more than uncertain course lately.
There is no metaverse, but metaverses
The race between the platforms has begun and will continue to escalate. Meta, Roblox, Fortnite, Decentraland, Microsoft… Which platform to invest in? It is still too early to assess the merits of each, but some questions arise. Will virtual universes be split up to keep users in competition over a hearing or interoperable: Will avatars move freely from one virtual world to another, can Balenciaga boots purchased on Fortnite be worn in another? Or will brands have to enter into exclusive contracts?
In addition to the cost of entering the metaverse, other expenses (design, development, maintenance, marketing, etc.) appear to revive this pristine space, which today is more like a laboratory of which we are still unaware. Future uses and prospects.
Challenge priority: success in the experiment
Experience is at the heart of metaverses. To design a successful experience, it seems necessary to know the users and their uses to choose their mode of presence and strategy. Buying virtual ad space to encourage real-world purchases, such as Chipotlé and the “Halloween Boorito” marketing activation where Roblox players can win coupons, sell NFTs in a virtual store, and create and test custom products?
We still lack a good practice perspective… however we believe the experiences should be immersive and fun to blend into the visual world of the platform, while standing out from the competition. not easy!
The metaverse is a break with traditional advertising mechanisms to access avatars that do not reflect a flesh-and-blood person with well-defined criteria of age, gender, or occupation. Targeting is getting harder! Especially since the experience in these virtual worlds is essentially social: playing, meeting, attending parties… and 3.0 Internet users go there to escape reality, which is a limitation for brands that have to respect this need for space and live differently. Today, the audience on platforms like Minecraft or Fortnite is young, but it is also restricted because not everyone has a way to access the metaverse or invest in cryptocurrencies.
The metaverse will also be B2B! Thinking of the metaverse only through a B2C prism might be a mistake: companies can also see in it both internal and external opportunities to define a new space to work or collaborate: recruiting and bringing employees together at a time of business hybridization, organizing trade fairs, showrooms or training. Even if we shouldn’t neglect the weight of managing change and acculturation, not to mention the costs of outfitting virtual reality goggles.
Finally, to succeed in the experiment, there is an aspect to be reckoned with: the business challenge. Yes, there is no doubt about the risk of failure in the world of “cheap” design and an experiment that is far from reality. Investing in the metaverse means giving yourself the means to respond to the resulting digital challenges: design the universe according to brand identity and values, user journey and interaction, but also combine e-commerce and marketing aspects! The metaverse requires a certain type of digital multi-discipline to deliver a unique and seamless experience, to add value to users with relevant and relevant content, but also to ensure regular developments and optimum performance. Not to mention that it is a 3D world that requires specific skills that are close to those in the world of video games in terms of design and development.
The metaverse is undoubtedly a fascinating topic to explore. However, the journey into this virtual world could not be without thought or without cost. And the cost not mentioned is environmental: the main drawback would be resource and energy greed, at a time when we’re talking about the need for a digital environment. So which adventure would you choose to pursue with your investments, real, virtual or hybrid?
Tribune Caroline Fary, Director of Media and Press Relations at SQLI for 5 years.