Following Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook rebranding into Meta, Metaverse initiatives were all the rage among tech circles.
This 3D-enabled digital space, as penned by the global management consulting company McKinsey, was having a moment as internet searches for this emerging buzzword surged by 7,200% in 2021.
Fast-forward to 2023, and this alternative virtual world hasn’t taken off as massively as its proponents had hoped.
For some, the Metaverse is plain dead, whether for the lack of a coherent vision or as collateral damage to the seemingly unstoppable rise of AI-powered tools.
But construing the Metaverse as the latest failed idea to join the tech grave is arguably premature, for many tech luminaries still believe in its potential.
So, can the Metaverse reinvent itself to turn into the much-anticipated tech revolution of the future it was once portrayed? Let’s find out.
A Technology Boosted By Artificial Intelligence
Amid AI hype, many tech companies seemingly dialed back their ongoing plans to develop their own Metaverse.
But other prominent voices in the tech sphere took an opposite stance, claiming that artificial intelligence dovetails with Metaverse plans.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was one of the first tech luminaries to hail artificial intelligence as a strong tool to build up the Metaverse instead of a roadblock to its widespread adoption.
Repelling the narrative that his company was moving away from its Metaverse vision to focus on generative AI, Zuckerberg made clear that the technologies were poised to be connected. And other tech leaders are on the same page.
An AI and Metaverse start-up company, Futureverse recently raised $54 million in a bid to marry both technologies.
Joining forces with the crypto exchange Ripple, Futureverse is planning on combining AI-driven content with technological infrastructure to turn the Metaverse into a truly interactive destination.
AI-powered tools and the Metaverse are also making waves beyond tech circles. For instance, Bank of America has been training new hires by blending artificial intelligence and VR headsets to mirror real-world customer interactions.
Even the World Economic Forum weighed in on the conversation by partnering with Microsoft and Accenture in hosting learning sessions to discuss the implementation of its own Metaverse, the Global Collaboration Village.
A collaborative space, the Forum’s burgeoning Metaverse seeks to unite major actors from around the globe, such as businesses, academics, international organizations, and youth to address global causes and critical challenges in a more inclusive and collective approach than ever before.
A Nascent Technology With Real-life Practical Uses
The word “Metaverse” seems to spring from a sci-fi novel in and of itself. Tellingly, the term was coined by sci-fi author Neil Stevenson in 1982.
But while the very notion of a fully immersive virtual place seems excessively futuristic, the Metaverse has already made a practical case for itself.
Whether or not they publicize these endeavors, many businesses have tapped into the technology’s potential to shake up their workplace habits.
With teams increasingly dispersed geographically, companies like Nokia have ventured into the Metaverse to facilitate employee onboarding by running VR-only learning sessions – a digital spin on the trendy lunch-and-learn concept.
Targeting businesses, tech company Lenovo rolled out the ThinkReality VRX to help enterprises create a 3D work environment.
Other sectors have capitalized on this blooming technology to take the customer experience to new heights.
Sports retail company Nike paved the way into the future with a Metaverse store visited by over 7 million global users less than five months into its launch.
The sportswear giant also partnered with Fortnite to build its virtual presence and bolster engagement within its customer pool with the so-called “Airphoria” Metaverse experience.
A new Direct-to-Avatar business model subsequently emerged, with brands directing their marketing efforts to digital-only assets designed to be exclusively used by avatars in virtual worlds.
Selling digital twins of signature products like shoes, handbags, and other accessories is designed to incentivize customers to reciprocate in the real world.
Additionally, such digital products help brands gamify their offerings to reach new demographics while rejuvenating their image by incorporating fun elements into their marketing campaigns.
A trailblazer in the Metaverse landscape, the luxury fashion house Gucci rolled out a Pokémon Go collection in partnership with The North Face.
And Metaverse platforms like Decentraland keep blending the physical and the virtual with impactful events, from NFT collaborations to fashion shows. Long story short, the Metaverse is as big as ever.
Metaverse Ushering In The Future Of Entertainment
In an ecosystem where people tend to get their entertainment fix virtually, the Metaverse is a powerful tool to leverage.
In South Korea, the entertainment company Metaverse Entertainment revealed its first all-virtual idol group earlier this year.
Comprising four AI-generated members, MAVE put on live performances in popular TV music shows.
The gaming industry has also been backing the technology for years. Online battle royale sensation Fortnite pioneered virtual concerts.
And the online gaming platform Roblox followed suit, hosting live performances and gigs among millions of different virtual activities.
Offering users to transition from one experience to another as a virtual avatar, this community-oriented Metaverse is all about playing unique games, shopping, and hanging out with friends.
Similarly, some gaming giants threw their weight behind blockchain projects, which underlie the Metaverse.
French developer Ubisoft recently expanded its reach in the blockchain space by supporting the Cronos network.
The iGaming industry also delved into blockchain to bridge the gap between online gambling and booming innovations like NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
Many websites even accept crypto assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum as legitimate payment methods, including top-rated fast-payout platforms.
And fast-payout platforms offer many more perks. Such platforms get users their funds in a matter of minutes.
Instead of waiting around for days, gamers get instant access to winnings they can withdraw on the go.
Several fast-processing and secure withdrawal options are available for players to grab their money, such as e-wallets and cryptocurrencies.
From retailers developing their virtual presence to companies easing the process of training new employees and video game publishers investing in blockchain projects, the Metaverse is far from irrelevant.
While the AI hype has arguably overshadowed Metaverse projects, the technology is still making substantial progress. Hence, we can reasonably assert that the Metaverse does have a bright future.